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Sioned Harries: Wales great announces retirement from rugby

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Wales great Sioned Harries has announced that she is retiring from rugby at the age of 34.

Sioned Harries: Wales great announces retirement from rugby
Sioned Harries: Wales great announces retirement from rugby

Back row Harries won 78 caps across 14 years as a Wales player and represented her country at four World Cups.

Her final game will be for Brython Thunder against Gwalia Lightning in the Celtic Challenge on Sunday, 3 March.

“I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved in the game, and this was a difficult decision, but the timing is right for me,” Harries said.

“I have loved the challenge and will be forever grateful for the fond memories and experiences.

“It hasn’t been easy, and the highs and lows have been well documented. Wearing the red jersey, representing my family, my community and my people is what it has always been about for me. I hope I have made you all proud.

“To think when I started, playing rugby for Wales was a hobby and not validated or recognised by many. Now it’s professional contracts, playing in front of record crowds, with all the media and commercial interest that we could only have dreamed about when I started at Aberaeron RFC.

“It is quite surreal, yet completely deserving to now know that every young girl I teach or coach, can aspire to be a professional rugby player.”

Sioned Harries: Wales great announces retirement from rugby
Sioned Harries: Wales great announces retirement from rugby

Harries made her Wales debut against Australia at the 2010 World Cup. She went on to play at the 2014, 2017 and 2021 – which was played in 2022 – tournaments.

Her final Wales appearance was also against Australia, at last year’s WXV1 tournament in New Zealand.

Harries combined rugby with a full-time job as a teacher at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur even after the women’s game in Wales went professional in 2022.

She played club rugby for Scarlets and Worcester Warriors, and also represented Wales in sevens and at under-20 level.

“There were times when playing for Wales was hard for all the wrong reasons, now it’s hard for all the right reasons,” Harries added.

“Life isn’t always perfect and if I was younger, I would relish the opportunity young players now have to achieve their dreams.”

Harries was the longest-serving member of the squad following the retirements of Caryl Thomas, Elinor Snowsill and Siwan Lillicrap last year.

She left Worcester Warriors after five seasons in 2023, before the club collapsed later that year, and has played this season for Brython Thunder.

She had spoken of wanting to reach a fifth World Cup in England next year but that will not now happen.

‘A totem of Welsh rugby’

“Sioned’s standing in the game is without question and she has given so much to Wales and the jersey,” said Wales coach Ioan Cunningham.

“To play in four World Cups is a stamp of her quality and determination and is a feat that won’t be matched by many players in the game.”

Welsh Rugby Union executive director of rugby Nigel Walker described Harries as a “totem of Welsh rugby”.

“If there was ever an example of someone who was willing to stand by what she believed in and put their body on the line for their country, it’s Sioned Harries,” he added.

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