Ken Owens: Scarlets, Wales and Lions hooker retires aged 37

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Wales’ most capped hooker and oldest captain Ken Owens has retired, aged 37.

Owens played 91 internationals for Wales and five Tests for the British and Irish Lions on two tours.

He won four Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, appeared at three World Cups and won a league title with Scarlets but has been sidelined for almost a year by a back injury.

“Not playing has been challenging but the time is right to follow medical advice and hang up my boots,” he said.

Owens, who made his Wales debut at the 2011 World Cup, made the decision “reluctantly”, having been beset by injuries over recent years.

He battled back from serious neck and back issues to realise his dream of captaining Wales in the 2023 Six Nations – at the age of 36.

But the last game of that season in April, for Scarlets in the European Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Glasgow, has proved to be his final match due to a long-standing back problem that ruled him out of the 2023 World Cup.

“It might not be the dream ending but my career has been more than I could have dreamt of,” said Owens.

“Had I written the script there would have been one more game for Wales, for the Scarlets and ultimately Carmarthen Athletic. A chance to sign off and thank everyone involved. It was not to be.

“Whilst part of me wishes I could have done more, I am well aware that if you had told me as a kid I would be fortunate enough to experience what I have, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

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