Jamie Peacock retires from England squad

Jamie Peacock has retired from international rugby league with immediate effect.

The announcement brings an end to a 12-year career at the highest level; seven of those years have been as captain of the national side.

Peacock said: “In January this year, after much thought, I decided that now would be right time to retire from international Rugby League. The last achievement I felt I could have with England would be to right the wrong and beat the Exiles team and this has happened.

“I felt that the time would be right for me to step down and solely concentrate on playing for my club. The focus for Steve McNamara and the England team has to be the objective of trying to win the Rugby League World Cup next year and for the next generation of players to be part of that process.

“Whenever I have captained or played for my country against the best in the world I have always enjoyed rising to the challenge and played with passion, commitment and honesty. I believe that this current England team will continue to do the same.”

The 34-year old made his international debut playing for England against Russia in the 2000 World Cup. He was made captain of Great Britain after Paul Sculthorpe pulled out of the 2005 and 2006 Tri Nations through injury. However he made the role his own, and represented Great Britain and England on 48 occasions.

He admits it is time that new blood was pushed through as Steve McNamara prepares for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Peacock said: “While I feel there are deficiencies within Super League, the one aspect for me that made this decision easier was the huge amount of exciting young talent coming through the elite competition in this country. I feel now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of trying to be the dominant force in World Rugby League over the next few years.”

England coach, McNamara, was full of admiration for the retiring prop forward.

He said: “Jamie Peacock is Rugby League’s ultimate warrior. It has been a privilege and an honour to coach Jamie at international level. He has given every ounce of blood, sweat and tears to the national set-up and it will be a massive challenge to replace such a fantastic athlete and captain.

“He is the perfect role model for any aspiring junior wanting to be the best they can be. The way he inspires those around him is his distinct quality. Jamie’s qualities will not be lost as he will have a major part to play in the overall England programme going forward as we continue to build to the Rugby League World Cup next year.”

Sean O’Loughlin is highly tipped to captain the England side against the Exiles on July 4.

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