Early blow for Conor O’Shea as injury forces Andrea Masi into retirement

ITALY INTERNATIONAL ANDREA Masi has called time on his illustrious career due to a long-standing Achilles injury sustained at the Rugby World Cup.

Masi — who is the only Italian to be named Six Nations Player of the Championship (in 2011) — missed the entire 2015-16 campaign with the problem as Wasps reached the Premiership semi-finals and last four of the European Champions Cup.

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After seeking medical advice, the 35-year-old versatile back has been forced to hang up his boots, leaving him with 95 caps for Italy — who were recently taken over by former Irish international Conor O’Shea — and 59 appearances for Wasps.

“Rugby has been at the core of my life for the past 20 years, and it’s not easy to close such an important chapter of my life,” Masi said told Wasps’ official website. “But I’m conscious that I need to follow expert medical advice and that this is the only possible way.

“Despite the recovery process progressing positively in the early stages, it didn’t heal as hoped and it became clear I wouldn’t be able to continue playing professional rugby. I’m satisfied that I made every possible effort to come back from the injury, but sadly it wasn’t to be.

“I’d like to thank Dai Young and all at Wasps for bringing me into their family four years ago, for believing in me and for staying by my side over the last, hard, 10 months: their loyalty and support is something I will never forget.

“I’d also like to wish, from the bottom of my heart, my thanks to the Italian team and to the head coaches who trusted in me over the years, giving me the privilege of representing my country in the Six Nations and in four Rugby World Cups. It was an unbelievable journey, an extraordinary honour.”

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