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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 10:02 GMT
Quinnell ends Test career
Wales and Lions star Scott Quinnell called time on his international career on Saturday after nine years at the top level.
Quinnell made his Wales debut in 1993 against Canada and finished it against the same opponents on Saturday in the Millennium Stadium.
The Llanelli No 8 came off the bench in the 56th minute with Wales leading 25-18 but creaking under Canadian counter-attacks.
Wales eventually settled, regained control of the match and went on to win the match 32-21 and set themselves up for next week's clash with New Zealand.
Whether it was the presence of their former skipper on the field that helped steady Wales can't be said with certainty.
It wouldn't have been the first time that the "Mighty Quin's" example had inspired his team-mates, but it was certainly the last in a Wales shirt.
Quinnell has struggled for some time with a variety of injuries, but his increasingly problematic knees mean that his days at the top level of rugby are numbered.
However, Quinnell said that he was feeling good physically and that much of the reason behind his decision was to devote more time to his young family.
"I feel better now than I have for a long time and possibly stronger than I have been for a long time," Quinnell said after an emotional send-off at the end of the match.
"I want to see my family and it's great now that I get to watch them grow up - there's a lot of committment between now and the World Cup.
"The spectators were fantastic and the players have been fantastic all week - it's the end of an era for myself and something I can be very proud of."
The Wales management had attempted to persuade their 6ft 4in talisman to carry on but his mind was made up.
Quinnell has been reduced to a bit-part or impact player, being held in reserve on the bench until risked from the start for 'major' internationals.
He has also lost the Wales captaincy to fellow back row Colin Charvis, after the Swansea player led Wales on their summer tour of South Africa.
There has also been friction between the Wales management and Llanelli, with his club doing its best to nurse their inspirational skipper along after his Test exertions.
Quinnell, as the son of Wales and Lions star Derek and nephew of legendary fly-half Barry John, was blessed with a fine rugby pedigree.
And he has lived up to his billing, playing 51 times for Wales - scoring 11 tries - and starring for the 2001 Lions, playing in all three Tests against Australia and claiming a try in the first Test win.
He has been plagued by a persistent knee injury for several seasons and underwent an operation on the troublesome joint following last year's Lions tour.
Last April, Quinnell announced that he would definitely bow out of the international arena after the 2003 World Cup in Australia - if he made it that far.
"If I get to the World Cup, and that will be a miracle at the moment, it will be over for me after that," Quinnell said at the time.
"My body is a wreck at the moment with a knee problem, neck injury and shin problem. In my heart of hearts I feel I will be lucky to get to Australia."
Quinnell began his rugby career at Stradey Park, coming through the Wales youth set-up before making his debut in 1993 against Canada at Cardiff Arms Park.
But like much of the cream of Welsh rugby before union turned professional, Quinnell turned his back on the code in September 1994, signing for Wigan rugby league club in a £400,000 transfer.
Quinnell was capped for Wales at rugby league before returning to the 15-man code in 1997 with Richmond, before rejoining Llanelli when the English club went bust.
Quinnell, whose brother Craig is also a Welsh international, was called up for the 1997 Lions tour to South Africa but injury curtailed his involvement.
The giant No 8 more than made up for it four years later in Australia, where he emerged as one of the Lions' outstanding performers.
Now he will devote his energies to Llanelli, and perhaps another tilt at the European Cup.
"I'll be at Llanelli until they kick me out," Quinnell added. "I'll never leave Llanelli."
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