England international Mark Wilson has retired from rugby with immediate effect.
The 32-year-old Newcastle skipper and back-row forward won 23 caps and went on as a replacement during the 2019 World Cup final between England and South Africa in Japan.
In a statement released by the Falcons, Wilson said a knee injury had made him “reassess where I am at from a career point of view”.
Today is a sad day for us, as we announce that Newcastle Falcons captain Mark Wilson has retired from rugby with immediate effect.— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) February 14, 2022
Thank you Mark for an absolutely immense contribution during your 237 appearances, and we know you won’t be a stranger. https://t.co/F7XwPpCCgp pic.twitter.com/STmk3oEJd4
Wilson, who played 237 times for Newcastle, made a solitary club appearance this season following knee surgery.
“I’ve taken the decision to retire from rugby. It is a decision that has been hard to make, but it is the right one for me and my family right now,” he said.
“My injury has made me reassess where I am at from a career point of view.
“That has been in the background and been in my thoughts quite a lot, and while it hasn’t been the case that the injury has physically ended my career in its own right, it has certainly been one of the main things which has added to my decision.”
Wilson’s final England appearance was against Ireland in Dublin during last season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.
He was also part of England’s Six Nations-winning squad in 2020, having made his Test debut against Argentina three years earlier.
Wilson added: “I will still be coming to watch games and supporting the club, but for now it is time to get on with the next part of my life.
“To begin with I just want to take some time off. My wife has started a new business within the past year, so I want to support her in that, and I just want to be around for the kids a little bit more.
Mark made his England debut against Argentina in 2017 and went on to win another 22 caps for England 🏴— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 14, 2022
Eddie Jones has praised Mark for his commitment and determination 👇 pic.twitter.com/CgO1VQKTYg
“I want to make sure I am fully committed to the next thing that I do, and that it is the right thing for me.
“I am excited about what is next for us as a family, and proud of what I’ve been able to contribute to the club during my time here.”
England head coach Eddie Jones paid tribute to Wilson, saying: “A great player, but more importantly a great guy.
“He has an incredible work ethic and determination. He never stopped working to improve. He is an inspiring player who will be missed in the game.”
Newcastle rugby director added: “We are all gutted and disappointed that Mark is retiring from rugby, but he has made a massive contribution to this club.
“He epitomises what we are about as someone who has come through our academy system, and he can look back and be proud about what was a fantastic career.
“Mark is a team man who has put his body on the line time and time again.
“He embodies our home-grown philosophy, and we all felt an enormous sense of pride when he went on to do so well on the international stage.”