The former Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby flanker, Lewis Moody, has been forced to announce his retirement from all rugby.
After making his first appearance for Leicester Tigers in 1996, the two-time Heineken Cup winner went on to play at the club for 14 years, including 217 games and 32 tries before moving to Bath Rugby in the summer of 2010.
With 71 caps for his country and three for the British and Irish Lions, he is one of the very few players to have consistently excelled in world rugby for the duration of his career. As the most capped England flanker he is also one of the most decorated, with winners medals from the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the Heineken Cup in 2001 and 2002, as well as seven Premiership titles, one LV=Cup and two RBS Six Nations Championships.
Lewis said: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce my immediate retirement from all forms of rugby. I have been very privileged to have played in some incredible teams and with some phenomenal players. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the medics and physios who have put me back together time and time again to enable me to continue to play this wonderful sport of ours.
"I would like to thank all of the coaches that I have worked with during my career, from Bracknell minis to the British and Irish Lions; they have all left their mark on me as a player."
Martin Johnson who played alongside Lewis for Leicester and England before coaching him, said: "When I look back at playing with Lewis it always brings a smile to my face - it was never dull. He was one of the most committed guys I ever played with and had a complete disregard for his own physical wellbeing. It's sad that he has had to retire but he should be remembered for a great career and someone who never gave less than 100 per cent for his club and country."
Since stepping down from international rugby in November 2011, Lewis spoke of his passion to channel his efforts in to succeeding with Bath Rugby and Sir Ian McGeechan, Director of Rugby, added: "Lewis has been a fantastic servant to the game, and I am disappointed I will not now have another opportunity to work with him on the training pitch and watch him deliver in a Bath jersey. He has had a tremendous career and is a player I have greatly admired. He is always fully committed and is everything any coach would want in a back row forward.
"He is someone whose opinion I trust and value, and he leaves a fantastic legacy from his time with Leicester, England and the Lions, which will long be remembered.''
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.