Wales Legend Sioned Harries To Bow Out After Glittering Career

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 16: Wales celebrate a try to Sioned Harries of Wales during the Pool A Rugby World Cup 2021 match between Wales and New Zealand at Waitakere Stadium on October 16, 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Wales Legend Sioned Harries To Bow Out After Glittering Career

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By Hannah Blackwell

Wales rugby legend Sioned Harries has announced her decision to retire from professional and international rugby after more than a decade in the Test arena.

Harries’ 14-year Test career saw her become one of the most respected and recognisable figures in Welsh and world rugby.

Her final game will be the Celtic Challenge clash at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday, March 3rd. (KO: 2.45pm).

Harries, 34, won 78 caps and represented her country with distinction in four World Cups – 2010, 2014, 2017 and 2021 (played in 2022) – with her final Wales game against the Wallaroos in Auckland in the new WXV1 tournament in 2023.

The versatile and abrasive backrower’s international debut was against Australia at Surrey Sports Park in the 2010 World Cup and her final game of a glittering career will be at Parc y Scarlets, the venue of her home region for the new Welsh Rugby Union side, Brython Thunder, in an all-Welsh Celtic Challenge clash with Gwalia Lightning.

Harries’ commitment to her country saw her combine a Test career with a full-time job as a teacher at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur since the game in Wales went professional in 2022.

She scored 28 tries for her country, played for Wales U20s, Wales Sevens in the World Series and Commonwealth Games, captained the Scarlets and play for Worcester Warriors in the Premiership across the border.

During her career, Harries became a respected commentator and media pundit, regularly commentating on women’s and men’s rugby games.

Harries, said: “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. I wish to thank my family and friends, teammates and coaches – past and present – and all the backroom staff and even my opponents, for bringing the best out of me. I have loved the challenge and will be forever grateful for the fond memories and experiences.

“Without all of you, and your support, I would not have achieved what I have. 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.

“It has always been about respect, as a youngster growing up, I wanted to play rugby and to play for my country. I have done that and for every young player in Wales, it’s not easy and it shouldn’t be, but it’s worth it.

“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.

“Personally, it’s right place, wrong time. There were times when playing for Wales was hard for all the wrong reasons, now it’s hard for all the right reasons. Life isn’t always perfect and if I was younger, I would relish the opportunity young players now have to achieve their dreams.

“I have to thank all staff and pupils at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur for their support and allowing me to continue playing for Wales, when the game went professional. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to complete my career, playing my final game of rugby at the Stadium of my home region in front of all my friends and family.”

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

“The commitment she has shown, combining her job as a full-time teacher and as an international player, underlines how much it meant to her to represent her country. To have the opportunity to finish at her home region is a fitting tribute for somebody who has worn the jersey with pride.”

WRU Executive Director of Rugby, Nigel Walker, said: “Sioned has been a totem of Welsh rugby and an inspirational player for Wales. Her commitment and integrity have earned her widespread respect throughout Wales and across the world.

“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.”

WRU CEO Abi Tierney said: “I am sure when Sioned has time to reflect, she will appreciate what she has achieved in the game and what an inspiration she has been to all the young players in Wales who now want to follow in her footsteps.”

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