Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons centre Tane Tu'ipulotu forced to retire
Newcastle centre Tane Tu'ipulotu has been forced to retire from professional rugby due to a knee injury.
Last Updated: 12/09/13 4:20pm
The 32-year-old Tongan, who rejoined the Falcons at the beginning of last season, has been advised by medical experts to hang up his boots.
"It's a painfully tough decision for me to make to stop doing something that I've always loved since a young lad growing up in Tonga," said Tu'ipulotu.
He added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the coaches, staff and fans for supporting me throughout my career, and to all my fellow teammates both past and present.
"It's been an honour to share my playing experience with them all."
Tu'ipulotu initially joined Newcastle in 2008 from Super 15 side the Hurricanes and made 83 appearances for the club.
He moved to Japanese club Yahama Jubilo in 2011 but returned to Kingston Park after just one season in the Far East, helping the Falcons secure promotion back to the Aviva Premiership at the first attempt.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: "I'm disappointed and it's a big blow to the team to lose someone of Tane's calibre.
"Players of Tane's quality don't come around very often, and it's a massive loss to the side.
"We wish him all the very best for the future."