Concussion forces All Blacks hooker to retire

All Blacks and Blues hooker James Parsons has decided to retire from all rugby on medical advice.

Parsons, a centurion for the Blues and North Harbour, says he is retiring on medical advice, after being out of the game for several months due to a head injury.

The 34-year-old earned two caps for the All Blacks, making his Test debut against Scotland in November 2014 and playing off the bench against Australia in 2016.

‘Firstly, I want to thank NZ Rugby, the Blues, North Harbour Rugby and Takapuna Rugby Club for the opportunities they’ve afforded me,’ Parsons said.

‘For me, it’s not about sadness it’s about celebration. I’ve been very fortunate to represent my two home teams the Blues and North Harbour Rugby over a hundred times each, which is a dream come true, and to play two Tests for the All Blacks is something I’ll never forget.

‘I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of these great teams and even more grateful to the people that fill them. To all the coaches, medical teams, staff, management and teammates I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years – my family and I thank you. Your guidance and support have been second to none and I couldn’t ask for a better bunch a people to go to work with every day.

‘To the loyal fans of the Blues and North Harbour Rugby – thank you. You have been only but amazing throughout my whole career.

‘I’ve studied and gained a number of skills on and off the field throughout my whole career that will transfer into the next stage of my life. I’m grateful for the opportunities Sky and NZME have given me in the broadcasting space and look forward to exploring that more. One thing for certain is that I love this game and will be staying involved and looking forward to the opportunity to give back.

‘Finally, to my friends and family a massive thank you for your unwavering support. In particular, my wife Sam, daughter Maddy, Mum, Dad, Sarah, and Nicholas – I would not have been able to do any of this without your love and willingness to sacrifice to allow me to live out my dream. As this chapter ends, I’m looking forward to the next and can’t wait to see what that adventure holds.’

Parsons finishes his career as the fourth-highest capped Blues player (115 games) behind fellow All Blacks Keven Mealaumu, Jerome Kaino and Tony Woodcock.

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