England player Gareth Ellis has today announced his retirement from international Rugby League with immediate effect, ruling himself out of selection for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
The 32-year-old second row has reached his decision following consultation with England coach Steve McNamara and officials at Hull FC, the club he captained to the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final and Super League play-offs this summer.
Ellis, who joined Hull FC at the end of last season following a successful four-year spell with Wests Tigers in the NRL, had been a contender for England selection this autumn but has opted to concentrate on his club career.
“It’s no secret that I’m heading towards the latter part of my career and after picking up untimely knocks over the last couple of years, I feel it is time for me to focus on my club,” said Ellis, who has played 22 games for England, as well as 17 caps for Great Britain.
“It will allow me more time to rest up and recover before taking part in a full pre-season, something I haven’t done since 2002 ,and hit the ground running in 2014.
“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and it’s been a very tough call to make as I was always very proud to represent England and it will be extremely disappointing to miss the World Cup.
“I feel this could be the strongest England team for some years, but after 12 years I’ve had my opportunities on the international scene and I want to focus on a big year for Hull FC.
“We made it to Wembley this year which was a great achievement, but I want to be there again next year and the year after. I want to be able to play my part for the club week in and week out, and make a contribution to help us achieve things and I feel the best way for me to do that now is to retire from international rugby.
He added, “Steve [McNamara] was very understanding when I spoke to him regarding my decision and I would like to wish him and the team the very best of luck ahead of the upcoming tournament.
“I will certainly be supporting the boys from the stands and I hope to see as many Hull FC fans there getting behind England throughout the tournament.”
England coach Steve McNamara said: “Gareth has made a massive contribution to England, both on and off the field, where his attitude was never anything other than totally professional.
“The standards of his performances with Wests Tigers demonstrated that England players are among the best in the world and though he has had a difficult season with injury I have no doubts that he has lots to offer Hull FC in the years to come.
“We fully understand the reasons behind his decision and wish him all the very best for the future.”
The decision means Ellis will miss England’s mouth-watering Rugby League World Cup 2013 opening fixture against Australia at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday October 26 as well as the chance to represent his country against Fiji at the KC Stadium on Saturday November 9.
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