• Kyodo


Ricoh Black Rams back Berrick Barnes, a two-time Japan Rugby Top League MVP capped 51 times by Australia, announced his retirement from rugby on Friday, saying his body was no longer up to the task.

The news, posted on the club's website, sees the 33-year-old finish his club career in Japan, against whom he earned his first cap and scored his first international try in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

He thanked the club's director of rugby, Hiroyuki Kamitori.

"I firstly want to say a big thank you to both the coaching and recruitment staff for giving me the opportunity to represent the Ricoh club," Barnes said. "I learnt a lot from Kami-san's leadership and I felt very welcome by the Aussie contingent of coaches who were equally supportive on and off the field."

Barnes won both of his MVP awards during his stint with Panasonic Wild Knights from 2013-19. His final campaign was a brief one, with the Top League having delayed the season start to allow players time to rest after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It was then cut short in February to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Japan and only ran from Jan. 12-Feb. 23.

"To all the players, thank you for making me feel really welcome and a part of the Ricoh family," he said. "I'm really sorry I couldn't contribute more on and off the field. Unfortunately my body is no longer allowing me to do what I was able to do in the past and for that reason I have chosen to retire."

"I look forward to seeing you all again in the near future once all of the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. I wish the Ricoh company, club and supporters all the very best in the future."

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