Former World cup winner and British Lion to retire

After 19 years in top flight rugby, that included winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003, a British & Irish Lions tour in 1997, 46 England caps and more than 440 competitive matches, Bristol front row man Mark Regan has announced his retirement from the professional game at the end of the 2008/09 season.

The 37 year-old hooker, known as ‘Ronnie’, has won a host of rugby accolades during his illustrious career, including playing for England at all levels, being part of the infamous Lions tour to South Africa in 1997, leading from the front during England’s bid to retain the Rugby World Cup in 2007, and Heineken Cup and Powergen Cup winners with Bath and Leeds respectively.

Commenting on his retirement, Regan said: “I can truly say that I have loved every single minute of my rugby career. Any other sports professional will understand how difficult it is to make the decision to retire, and this announcement has not been an easy thought process.”

“I realise I have lived the dream of any kid who has picked up a rugby ball and wanted to wear the red rose of England.”

“I’m extremely proud of the career I have had and I’d like to thank everyone who I have worked with over the years, from developing through the school and age-group ranks through to the international level and my current employers Bristol.”

Regan is looking forward to the next phase of his rugby career whilst he progresses his coaching qualifications with the Rugby Football Union (RFU), and is currently discussing a number of offers to take up coaching roles as well as some business-led opportunities.

He added: “I have enjoyed 20 years at the top of the game and have been in regular dialogue with Bristol Rugby since the turn of the year. I may be retiring from playing, but I’m not retiring from being involved in rugby, the world of business and the community in general.”

The former Lions and England international has been planning ahead over the last few seasons with Regan expanding his infamous ‘front row’ personality to hosting and speaking at dinners and events, and developing his coaching skills with his role as scrum and line out coach at Bristol Rugby and forwards coach of Bristol’s oldest, and one of the world’s oldest clubs, Clifton RFC (currently first in South West One).

Born in Bristol, Regan started his career with the Memorial Stadium club in the early 1990s, making his competitive debut against local rival Bath in a national cup quarter-final in February 1992, before making 120 appearances for them as well as his England international debut against South Africa in 1995.

After a successful British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997 Regan moved to West Country neighbours Bath, where he went on to make 125 appearances including winning the Heineken Cup in 1998.

In 2002 he moved to Leeds, making 69 appearances, and winning the Powergen Cup in 2005 against his former club Bath.

The Bristolian returned home in 2005 for a second spell at the Memorial Stadium when Bristol got promoted to the Premiership. The international hooker was part of the team that finished in third place in the league and has been a talisman during the last few seasons making a further 75 appearances.

Mark Regan Profile:

Date of birth: 28.01.1972
England (1995 – 2008), 46 caps
British & Irish Lions (1997), 1 cap
Barbarians and World XV, 8 appearances
Bristol (1991 – 97), 120 appearances (including all first XV fixtures and tournaments)
Bath (1997 – 2002), 125 appearances (Heineken Cup winner 1998)
Leeds (2002 – 05), 69 appearances (Powergen Cup winner 2005)
Bristol (2005 – 09), 75 appearances
Total, 444 plus further appearances for England representative sides

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