Mauger played his last game against Northampton Saints in February
Leicester Tigers vice-captain and former All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger has announced his retirement from rugby because of a persistent back injury.
The 29-year-old won 45 caps for New Zealand and made 53 appearances for Tigers following his move to Welford Road after the 2007 World Cup.
"After many specialist treatments I have been unable to regain full fitness," Mauger told the club website.
"Unfortunately retiring now seems the last but only realistic option."
Mauger had attended clinics in the UK and Germany in his bid to overcome the injury but had been unable to complete training sessions without breaking down.
In January he announced that he intended to leave Leicester at the end of the season and return to Canterbury in a bid to try to regain his All Blacks berth in time for the 2011 World Cup in his homeland.
"I am gutted to be finishing my playing career many years before I had planned," Mauger continued.
"This scenario also means I will have to let go of my aspirations of returning to play in New Zealand and my desire to compete in an All Blacks jersey again."
His decision brings to an end a glittering career that saw Mauger represent New Zealand at schoolboy and Under-21 level before going on to make his full debut against Ireland in 2001.
During his domestic career he won both Super 12 and Super 14 titles with Canterbury Crusaders.
"I only wish every team that I have played for all the best and thank all the players and coaches who have helped me achieve and enjoy the game as much as I did.
"I have many special memories and they are ones that I will cherish forever."
Mauger will continue his rehabilitation in the UK before he returns to New Zealand in June.