Waratahs lock Sam Wykes has announced his retirement from professional Rugby.
Wykes made his Super Rugby debut for the Force in 2008, going on to play 87 games for the club.
He would then ply his trade in Japan, playing for Coca-Cola Red Sparks, Panasonic Wild Knights, Shimizu Blue Sharks as well as the Sunwolves in Super Rugby
Returning home at the start of the season, Wykes' season was cut short after a bicep injury during Round Six of Super Rugby AU against the Reds.
“It definitely feels like time, the body just gave way over the last couple of years with some injuries and I wasn’t keen on chasing any more gigs overseas as I’ve got a small young family,” Wykes said in a statement.
“It was a short time here at the Waratahs, I’ve spent a lot of it on a bloody wattbike and in the rehab room, but I’m really grateful and appreciative to be back home in NSW.
“I’m stoked that I got a cap and I had an opportunity to finish up in my hometown and in front of my wife, kids, mum and dad and family members.
“It’s been a really good ride and I’m appreciative of It.”
Waratahs forwards coach Matt Cockbain praised his leadership and commitment as he guided the next generation of players through a tough 2021 season.
“As a senior player you’re expected to take the young blokes under your wing and he’s done that with our young locks, providing invaluable knowledge that he’s learnt from more than a decade playing in some of the best leagues in the world,” Cockbain said.
“He’s a very good team man, socially very good at including everyone and making sure everyone feels comfortable.
“He’s played all around the world for various teams at a high level and has always been spoken of very highly by his teammates, he’s one of the best.”
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This was shared by co-coach Jason Gilmore, who believes his leadership and wisdom shared will be invaluable for the group heading forward.
“He’s only been here for a short period, but Wykesy has been such an excellent contributor to our squad,” Gilmore added.
“He’s been an active part of our leadership group, sharing his experience and knowledge to our younger guys, and his ability to bring people together in a team environment is first class.”