U.S. captain Blaine Scully retires from professional rugby

Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

The United States captain Blaine Scully has announced his retirement from professional rugby after a decade in the sport.

Scully, 32, earned 54 international appearances and featured at three World Cups, seven World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments and won bronze at the 2011 Pan American Games.

The wing became captain of the national side in 2016 and played his final match for the U.S. against Tonga at last year's World Cup in Japan, where they were knocked out in the group stages.

"It's a difficult thing to say that I will no longer be a professional or international rugby player," he said in a statement. "What I loved so much about the game is how it challenged me in every imaginable way. Facing those challenges, not alone, but with a group; a team that you respect and trust, will be what I miss the most.

"The people have always been the best part of the journey. The opportunity to play rugby for a living and as a career was a gift."

Scully started his career with Premiership side Leicester Tigers in 2013 where he scored on his full debut and made 34 appearances.

He moved to Cardiff Blues two years later and spent four seasons at the club, where he scored the winning try in the 2018 Challenge Cup final against Gloucester in Bilbao.

U.S. national team head coach Gary Gold said: "Blaine has been a consummate professional. His drive, leadership, passion and overall dedication to help the team have been infectious across players and staff.

"It goes without saying that Blaine will be truly missed and the mark he has left on the men's national team will only support future generations.

"While we are sad to see him go, we are even more excited for this new chapter in his career and proud of the continued commitment he makes to the betterment of American rugby."