Sale Sharks and former England hooker Rob Webber will retire at the end of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season after playing over 300 professional games for club and country.
The 33-year-old will call time on a sixteen-year career that has seen him represent Leeds Tykes, Wasps, Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks at the end of season after deciding to pursue other opportunities within rugby.
On announcing his retirement Rob was thankful for the opportunities he has been given throughout his career, he said:
The time has come for me to hang up my playing boots at the end of the 19/20 Gallagher Premiership season.
It has been an incredible journey over the last 16 years. The memories I have made will stay with me always, but I now feel it is time to pursue other opportunities within the game.
I feel very lucky to have played with and against some of the world’s best players and to call many of them mates. The friendships I have made along the way I will take with me everywhere I go.
My clubs; Leeds, Wasps, Bath and currently Sale Sharks have all been brilliant places to go to work every day. I’d like to thank the coaches and staff for all you have done for me.
The opportunity to play for my country, tour the world and to be involved in a World Cup are career highlights and achievements I will cherish forever. Thank you to the fans who have supported me throughout my career, the game wouldn’t exist without you.
Most importantly, thank you to the unsung people who have made it happen; My family. My wife Lauren, daughter Ronnie, my parents and my brother – thank you for the sacrifices you made to give me the opportunity.
I feel that Sale Sharks are in a great place, and it has been a pleasure to watch the club develop under new ownership. There is a great group of players at the club and I will be working hard to help us fulfil our potential and finish the season as strong as possible.”
Steve Diamond, Sale Sharks Director of Rugby added:
“It’s a shame to see Rob leave the club earlier than expected. I did everything I could to keep Rob at the club for the final year of his contract, but it was clear he had made his mind up and as a club we wanted to support his decision to pursue other opportunities within the game.
In my opinion, Rob has shown the best form of his career whilst at Sale and we are unfortunate to be losing such an experienced player at the end of the season.
‘Webs’ has had a great innings and is one of the last of the old guard in the premiership. I have no doubt that the skill set he has shown both on and off the pitch at Sale, along with the experience he has in the modern game, will stand him in good stead as he looks to transfer into an off-field role.
Everyone at Sale Sharks wishes Rob and his family the very best for the future.”
Former England International Rob, who has 16 caps to his name, started his career at Leeds Tykes in 2003 after growing up playing grassroots rugby in Yorkshire for Pocklington RUFC.
Rob made two appearances for Leeds in the European Challenge Cup during his two years at the club, before moving south to Wasps in 2005, where he made his name in the sport. After four seasons at Adams Park, Webber got his first taste of international rugby after being named in the England Saxons squad for the 2009 Churchill Cup.
A call up to the Senior England squad followed in 2010 ahead of the annual summer tour, with Rob making his full debut in a non-capped game vs the New Zealand Mauri in Napier. Webber would go on to win 16 caps in total for England throughout the next four seasons, eventually finishing his international career at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The combative hooker went on to make over 100 appearances for the now Coventry based Wasps between 2005 and 2012, during which time the club celebrated both European and Premiership successes.
After seven years at Wasps, Rob made the move to Bath Rugby at the end of the 2011/12 season where he played 82 games and helped guide the blue, black and white to a Premiership Rugby Final in 2015, losing out to Saracens at Twickenham.
After signing for Sale ahead of the 2016/17 Premiership season, the then 29-year-old found a new lease of life in Manchester and found some of the best form of his career in a Sharks shirt. Rob has made 94 appearances for Sale since joining and will likely reach his century of games in navy blue before hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
Rob Webber Appearance Stats:
Leeds Tykes – 2 (0 Points)
Wasps Rugby – 109 (15 Points)
Bath Rugby – 82 (35 Points)
Sale Sharks – TBC