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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Injury forces Quinnell to retire
Former Wales lock Craig Quinnell
Quinnell won 32 caps for Wales
Former Wales lock Craig Quinnell has been forced to retire from rugby because of a neck injury.

Quinnell, 30, sustained the injury in a Celtic League match for Cardiff Blues against Glasgow on 24 March.

"The consultant has told me I could be one hit away from a wheelchair and that really hits home how lucky I have been," said 32-capped lock Quinnell.

"I'm really disappointed. It's a very sad time for me and it's going to be hard to adjust to life without rugby."

Quinnell made his senior debut aged 18 at Llanelli, but accepted a big-money move to English side Richmond in 1996.

The 6ft 6in forward returned to Wales to play for Cardiff three years later, but suffered a serious back injury early in his first season at the Arms Park which threatened to end his career.

Personally I think his best international performance goes back to the victory over England in Wembley
Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young

But Quinnell, brother of former Wales captain Scott, made a full recovery from surgery and went on to play 54 games for Cardiff before joining Saracens in 2002 and then Worcester.

Another return to the Arms Park followed in 2003, and Quinnell says there was no better place to end his career.

"I'd like to thank all the Blues faithful who have cheered me on as well as thanking all the opposition fans who have booed and heckled and driven me forward over the years," he said.

Quinnell's international career began as a flanker against Fiji in 1995. He was a member of Wales' 1999 World Cup squad and played in the famous 32-31 Five Nations victory of England in Wembley.

His physical presence and power was a vital element of the record-breaking 10 match winning streak under Graham Henry.

Cardiff Blues Dai Young said: "Craig has always been very supportive to me and has always gone out and given his best on the field.

"He's been very influential in helping us with moving things forward off the field and he will be missed.

"As a player I always wanted to play with him rather than against him and we go back a long way both as a coach and as players.

"Personally I think his best international performance goes back to the victory over England in Wembley."

Quinnell won his final Wales cap in the 37-33 Six Nations loss to France in 2002 at the Millennium Stadium.

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