DEWSBURY-BORN England international Sam Burgess has been forced to announce his retirement due to a chronic shoulder injury.
The 30-year-old played 23 times for England and twice for Great Britain, and briefly switched codes to play in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.
He signed for South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2010 from Bradford Bulls and has established himself as one of the greatest players in the sport.
However, a chronic shoulder condition that only became apparent earlier this year after routine surgery has forced his immediate retirement.
“This decision was one of the hardest I’ve had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially,” Burgess said.
“I am no longer able to be myself day in, day out on the training field and consequently the playing field.
“My time has come to an end. I’m excited for my next chapter in life whatever that may be.”
Burgess learned his trade at Dewsbury Moor alongside older brother Luke, who retired at the end of last year, and younger siblings George, who has signed for Wigan Warriors, and Tom, who remains at South Sydney.
He was snapped up by Bradford and made his Super League debut in 2006, at the age of 17, before establishing himself as a first-team regular the following season.
At the end of 2007 he made his debut for Great Britain, although he missed out on the 2008 World Cup through injury.
In total Burgess made 88 appearances for the Bulls before being lured to the NRL by Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe.
He enjoyed his greatest success in the 2014 NRL Grand Final, winning the Clive Churchill Medal for best player in the match after helping his side to victory against Canterbury Bulldogs, despite suffering a broken cheekbone and eye socket in the first tackle of the game.
By then Burgess had committed to a cross-code switch, signing for Premiership side Bath and controversially earning a place in the England squad for their ill-fated home World Cup.
He decided to go back to rugby league afterwards, returning to Souths for the 2016 season and continuing to be a favourite.
Meanwhile he was starring for his country as well, captaining England in the 2016 Four Nations before taking the armband again for the 2017 World Cup final defeat to Australia.
Burgess started strongly again this year but suffered a shoulder injury in June. He returned to the Souths side late in the year, making his 182nd and final appearance for the club in their play-off loss to Canberra Raiders at the end of September.