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Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK

Guscott announces retirement

Jeremy Guscott struggles to cope with the injury against Italy in the World Cup

England centre Jeremy Guscott has quit international rugby after failing to shake off a groin injury.

Jeremy Guscott: "I can't really mention most of the highlights of my career"
The news of the demise of one of the most influential players in England's 1990s golden era comes as a major blow to the team's World Cup hopes.

"This is one of the saddest days of my life because I have finally had to accept I've played my last match for England," said the 34-year-old, who won 60 caps.

[ image:  ]
"The groin problem which has already disrupted a part of my career has returned to end it.

"A lot of hard work was put in to get into peak condition for the World Cup but sadly to no avail."

Guscott intends to continue playing for Bath and he will remain with the England squad during the rest of the World Cup campaign.

But he said he had to face up to the injury. "As soon as I start sprinting then the pain starts - and it has reached a stage where it is a mental problem as well as physical."

Guscott aggravated the injury during England's World Cup warm-up match against Canada.

Writing in The Express, he said: "When something like this is in your mind all the time then you can't do yourself or the team justice.

Ian Robertson: "This is a sad end to an illustrious career"
"I have had to face up to the truth and fate. Even if England go all the way to Cardiff and the World Cup final, I will not be part of it.

"The papers which signal the end and enable England to bring in a replacement have already been signed."

'No choice'

Guscott made up his mind and told England coach Clive Woodward immediately after scoring the last two of his 30 international tries against Tonga last week.

[ image: Clive Woodward has been deprived of the services of one of his senior players]
Clive Woodward has been deprived of the services of one of his senior players
He said: "Just as soon as the match was over, I knew that was it. I told Clive and he just said: 'Oh, hell, but let's give it 48 hours'.

"It did settle down a bit, but nowhere near as much as it needed so the decision had to be taken.

"I have always been a believer in fate and think what has happened is for a reason."

Woodward is now set to announce a replacement to the squad.

England take on South Africa in the quarter-final in Paris on Sunday.

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