Rees, 27, suffered the injury during a pre-season game last summer and despite his best efforts in rehab since then, he has been medically advised to stop playing immediately.
The news is extremely sad for everyone associated with London Wasps, with the popular and influential former Club captain having had cruel luck with injuries for a number of recent seasons.
Tom Rees said: “I’m gutted that I have been forced to retire at a time when I feel I could have contributed so much more to my Club. Whilst I will always think what might have been, I will also look back on my career and what I achieved with a great deal of pride. Over the last nine years I have been privileged to take part in my hobby for a living, and I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. During that time I have met a lot of great people who have played a huge part in my career and to list them here would take far too long, so I would just like to say thank you to all the supporters, coaches, staff, opponents, teammates and everyone else who have made my life in rugby such a wonderful experience. I would especially like to thank everyone at London Wasps, they have given me such tremendous support at all times through my career but particularly of late, and I am sorry that I won't get to repay them for that. Finally, I would like to thank my friends and family for their constant support through everything I have done.”
London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “This is incredibly sad news for Tom and for everyone at the Club. His attitude and commitment to the Club remained hugely constant even when he was out injured and I know his presence will be missed around the squad. Reesy though is a very resilient and intelligent man and I have no doubt whatever he does with his career he will make a success of it. On behalf of everyone at Wasps I want to wish him all the best in the future. We will be here to support him in any way we can.”
London Wasps owner Steve Hayes added. “It is very sad news for all of us that Tom has been forced to retire. On and off the pitch he has been a wonderful ambassador for both London Wasps and the game of rugby itself and he will be sorely missed at the Club. Tom can be extremely proud of everything he has achieved in the game in London Wasps colours despite having his career cut short and I speak for everyone when I say I wish him all the very best in the next chapter of his life.”
An outstanding product of the London Wasps Academy, Tom Rees joined Wasps in 2003, bursting onto the scene in the 2004/5 season as a highly talented young back-row forward and his performances impressed enough to earn him a senior contract. He was part of the 2007 Heineken Cup winning team and in 2008 he ended another great season with an opening try in the Premiership final win against Leicester Tigers.
On the international scene, Rees has represented England at almost all levels including U16, U18, U19, U20s and Senior levels as well as playing for England Sevens. He won 15 full senior caps winning his first as a replacement against Scotland in the 2007 Six Nations and was subsequently named in the 2007 World Cup squad. He also played in the 2008 and 2009 Six Nations though a variety of injuries hampered his chances of adding to his tally.
Damian Hopley CEO of the RPA said: “It is devastating news that Tom has had to leave the game in the middle of his career. For someone who made such an immediate impact for both Wasps and England to have to walk away from the game he loves at the age of 27 is shattering. Not long ago Tom was tipped to be a future captain of England so this proves just how cruel the game can be that he was never able to fulfil his undoubted potential.Tom is an extremely popular player who is hugely respected by his peers and coaches for his attitude, commitment and high standards. He is also a very intelligent young man who we have been working with closely through the Player Development Programme to access further education options and I have no doubt that he has the aptitude and determination to fulfil his ambition of gaining a degree in medicine. On behalf of everyone at The RPA, I would like to wish Tom every success for the future and we look forward to working with him and helping him through these challenging times.”
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We all recognise Tom’s qualities as a player and a person and it’s going to be a shame that he will never be able to display his talent on the world stage again. However, he has tremendous attributes as an individual and a leader. I am sure he will go on to become very successful in his future career and all the players and management here in the England camp wish him well on that journey.”
See here for a selection of images of Tom in action for Wasps and England.