World Cup winner Balshaw calls time

Iain Balshaw
Iain Balshaw
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Former Leeds Tykes full-back Iain Balshaw, who won the 2003 World Cup with England, has announced his retirement.

The 35-year-old has failed to recover from a knee injury sustained while playing for Biarritz.

One of the most gifted players of his generation, a silky runner with the ball and potent finisher, his retirement means only one of the revered and victorious Red Rose squad from Sydney is still playing.

That, of course, is the Queen’s granddaughter’s husband Mike Tindall, the Yorkshireman who, ironically, also remains Balshaw’s best friend from their formative days together at Bath.

“After 16 months of unsuccessful rehab it is finally time to call it a day,” Balshaw said on Twitter.

“I would like to thank each and everyone of you, especially those at Bath, Leeds, Gloucester and Biarritz, who have played a part in the last 17 years. Through you I have had some amazing experiences, travelled the world and made some life-long friends and for that I am truly grateful.”

He made a total of 35 appearances for England, coming on as a substitute in the World Cup final victory over the Wallabies, and also won three Test caps for the British Lions on the tour of Australia two years earlier.

He made his senior debut for Bath in 1997, going on to make 127 appearances at the club before switching to Leeds in 2004.

He helped them to their finest hour, lifting the Powergen Cup at Twickenham after a shock victory over his former team in 2005, although he came off with an injury in the first half, something which would frustratingly blight his career at times.

Balshaw, equally adept as a wing, scored four tries in 26 games before Leeds suffered relegation. He joined Gloucester in 2006, moving to France in 2009.