Ashton salutes departing Corry

Coach Brian Ashton led the tributes to Martin Corry after the former England captain announced his international retirement. [more]

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Coach Brian Ashton led the tributes to Martin Corry after the former England captain announced his international retirement.

The 34-year-old Leicester forward, writing in the Guardian, said: "If there is ever a right moment to step aside from representing England this is it. I’ve had my time and none of us can keep going forever."

Corry, who appeared in the World Cup final defeat against South Africa in October, revealed he turned down England boss Ashton’s invitation to play in next month’s RBS 6 Nations.

England coach Ashton said: "From a purely selfish point of view, I am really disappointed that Martin Corry will no longer be featuring in a white shirt with a red rose because I know, as many others do, that he has worn it with pride and dignity for many years.

"He has been an outstanding member of the England rugby team both on and off the field over a long period of time and his contribution will be sorely missed.

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"Martin has captained England on a number of occasions, often in difficult circumstances, and he has always led the side from the front in his own inimitable fashion.

"I wish him all the best for the rest of this season as captain of Leicester Tigers."

Corry said he does not believe he can maintain his high standards in both international and domestic rugby.

"It’s just a shame I am getting old," he said. "If I could carry on for the next 10 years I would because I genuinely love playing for Leicester and England.

"Brian rang me to say they were going to name me in the 32 and asked if that was what I wanted.

"Unfortunately, I just can’t keep doing it all. Something has to give if I want to keep playing to the required standard."

It means Ashton will be shorn of another experienced player following the retirements of Jason Robinson, Mike Catt and Lawrence Dallaglio for England’s first match against Wales at Twickenham on February 2.

Corry earned 64 England caps as well as six for the British and Irish Lions and was a member of the 2003 World Cup-winning side.

Rugby Football Union president Bob Taylor added: "Martin has served his country impeccably for the past decade and his contribution over those 64 internationals cannot be underestimated. Not only has he been an outstanding player and captain but a respected ambassador for English rugby."

RFU chief executive Francis Baron said: "I was very sad when I heard that Martin was retiring from the international game.

"He has been an outstanding player and captain for England through some very successful but also very difficult times with the national team but his commitment to the England cause has always been absolute.

"Martin epitomises everything that is good about the game, on and off the pitch and I would like to wish him every success for the remainder of his club career."

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