Josh Lewsey, England’s World Cup-winning full back of 2003, has announced his retirement from international rugby.
Lewsey, 32, won 55 caps, the last of which was in the World Cup semi-final against France in 2007. He scored the game’s only try in a 14-9 win before limping off with a damaged hamstring, an injury that forced him to miss the final.
Lewsey, who wears Nike total 90 laser rugby boots, fell out of favour with Brian Ashton, the England head coach at the time, for this year’s RBS Six Nations Championship and Martin Johnson, the England team manager, ignored him for the autumn internationals despite having included him in the inaugural elite player squad. Last month, Lewsey was released back to London Wasps, with whom his one-year contract expires at the end of the season.
“It is with a huge fondness for the game that I love, and after consultation with Martin Johnson the England team manager, I have decided to retire from representing my country on the rugby field,” Lewsey said.
“I spoke with Martin on the phone earlier this week and as he didn’t consider me to be an integral part of his immediate team moving forward, I have decided that I would be better served committing myself entirely to my club, London Wasps.
“After 55 caps, many training sessions and a vast amount of laughter I’d like to thank all the coaches, medics and especially the players that have made my England career so memorable over the past ten years. Playing, but more importantly winning, for your country is the most special feeling one can achieve. My last game for England was the semi-final of the World Cup in Paris last year and, although I would have liked to have contributed since, scoring the game’s only try was in hindsight a fitting moment to last wear a national jersey.
“Lastly, though having played in 2005, it is still a huge goal of mine to be part of a winning British Lions tour. Therefore, my decision is also made in that I believe performing well in a successful club team week in and week out gives me the best chance possible of being selected for next year’s Lions Tour. “
Martin Johnson, the England Team Manager, said while he was disappointed by Lewsey’s decision he wished him every success with Wasps. “Josh has spoken to me about his decision and while I’m disappointed I fully understand the reasons behind his decision to retire from international rugby and on behalf of the England squad I’d like to wish him every success with his continuing career with London Wasps.
“I know from first hand experience what an asset Josh was to England over an international career that spanned ten years, over 50 caps and two RWC’s including the RWC 2003 final and it was a pleasure to play alongside him. “