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Last of the 2001 Lions retires as Iain Balshaw bows out

The 35-year-old has endured a 16-month struggle with a knee injury.

Rugby Union - British Lions' Tour of Australia - New South Wales Waratahs v British Lions Balshaw bursts past Manny Edmonds of the Waratahs in 2001. Source: EMPICS Sport

ENGLISH FULLBACK IAIN Balshaw has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 35.

The former Gloucester man’s decision means that every member of the 2001 British and Irish Lions squad has now finished their playing career.

Balshaw has struggled with a knee injury over the past two seasons at Top 14 club Biarritz and has now come to the conclusion that “the fat lady has sung.”

The fullback won 35 caps for England during a career that also saw him play club rugby for Bath and Leeds. He helped his country to success at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, appearing off the bench in the final against Australia.

Balshaw was part of the 2001 Lions squad, although he did not start any of the three Test matches in Australia, as Matt Perry was preferred in the 15 shirt. He was selected for the 2005 Lions tour too, but a thigh injury meant he failed to travel to New Zealand.

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