FORMER Newcastle and England international Mathew Tait has retired from rugby after failing to recover from ongoing injury.

The 33-year-old centre, who spent the last eight years playing for Leicester, was part of the England team beaten by South Africa in the 2007 World Cup final in France.

Tait, from Shotley Bridge and a former Barnard Castle School pupil, has called time on his playing career on medical advice due to a long-term Achilles problem which has kept him sidelined all season.

"It isn't how I planned to finish up but ultimately this ongoing problem with my Achilles has caught up with me and, on the advice of people much more in the know than me, it's the right time to call it quits," he told Leicester's website.

Tait, who was capped 36 times at international level between 2005 and 2010, won the 2013 Premiership title with Leicester, in addition to the 2017 Anglo-Welsh Cup.

He began his career with Newcastle in 2004 and also played for Sale.

"I've been so fortunate to achieve many things in the game and it's hard to pinpoint one highlight, let alone a few, but obviously being able to win the Premiership with Tigers stands out, as well representing my country and, of course, playing in a World Cup final," he added.

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy described Tait as one of the "leading players of his generation".

"He will always be welcome at Welford Road and we wish him and his family all the very best for the future," said Murphy.

"Mat has been among the leading players of his generation since making his breakthrough as a teenager at Newcastle."