Ben Afeaki retires from rugby

10 Apr 2015
Ben Afeaki retires from rugby

Ben Afeaki has decided to retire from all rugby due to medical reasons.

Afeaki suffered concussion in February 2014 during a Super Rugby match against the Crusaders. He was cleared to resume training as part of a graduated return to play plan.

He suffered a further knock during training the next month and has not played since.

The 27-year-old prop played 36 matches for the Chiefs, was an All Black in 2013 and played eight matches for the Maori All Blacks.

Afeaki said retirement was the best decision for his long term health and he continued to make good progress in his recovery.

“I am very fortunate that I have achieved some awesome things in rugby. I have been part of a team that has won back-to-back Super Rugby Championships. I have lived out a boyhood dream of playing for the All Blacks, played for a very special team in the Maori All Blacks and captained my Provincial Union, North Harbour.

“During that time I have built some life-long friendships, had some awesome experiences and received amazing support and care from the Chiefs, North Harbour and New Zealand Rugby. But it is now time that I make a decision that is best for my health long term and that is to retire from all rugby.”

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Afeaki left a big hole in the Chiefs' family.

“Ben is an outstanding man who is highly respected and loved by all at the Chiefs. When he informed the team that he was retiring from rugby, it was very emotional. The Haka they honoured him with was the most passionate and heartfelt I’ve ever witnessed.
“His phenomenal work rate and physicality played a massive part in our success in 2012-13 and he will be sorely missed. He has our full support in this decision and has used the past 14 months since his injury to clarify his future beyond his playing days. We are totally committed to assisting him in transitioning into the work force.”