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Chiefs prop Ben Afeaki has announced today that he will retire from all rugby due to medical reasons.

The highly popular 27 year-old suffered concussion in February of 2014 in a round one match against the Crusaders and has not played since.  

Expecting to make a full recovery, the highly respected team man is rapt about the experiences rugby has given him.

“I am very fortunate that I have achieved some awesome things in rugby but now is the time that I have to make a decision that is best for my health long-term, and that is to retire from all rugby.”   

“I have been part of team that has won back-to-back Investec Super Rugby Championships.  I have lived out a boyhood dream of playing for the All Blacks and played for a very special team in the Maori All Blacks and captained my Provincial Union, North Harbour.

“During that time I have built some life-long friendships, had some awesome experiences and received amazing support and care from the Chiefs, North Harbour and New Zealand Rugby.”

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Ben will continue to remain part of the Chiefs family despite not being on the field and will continue to receive on-going support from the Chiefs, New Zealand Rugby, his Provincial Union North Harbour and the New Zealand Players Association.

“Ben is an outstanding man who is highly respected and loved by all at the Chiefs. When he informed the team that he was retiring from rugby, it was very emotional. The haka they honoured him with was the most passionate and heartfelt I’ve ever witnessed.

“His phenomenal work rate and physicality played a massive part in our success in 2012-13 and he will be sorely missed. He has our full support in this decision and has used the past 14 months since his injury to clarify his future beyond his playing days. We are totally committed to assisting him in transitioning into the work force,” said Rennie. 

Ben made his All Blacks debut in 2013, played 36 matches for the Chiefs, eight matches for the Maori All Blacks and 58 games for North Harbour, captaining the side.

Ben’s Provincial Union, North Harbour paid tribute to their former captain who spent his entire provincial career playing for them since his debut in 2007 as a 19 year old. 

North Harbour Chief Executive Brett Hollister said Ben would be missed by fans and team-mates.

“He has been a great servant of North Harbour rugby where he began his professional rugby as a young man. He has achieved the highest honours through his skill and professionalism and we wish him all the best for the next stage of life.”

Ben is excited about his future prospects and is currently exploring business opportunities for the next phase of his life now that his playing chapter is completed. 

Ben Afeaki History

Ben Afeaki made his first class rugby debut for North Harbour aged 19. He was part of World Championship-winning Under 19 and Under 20 squads and made his All Blacks debut against France in 2013. He played one Test for the All Blacks, coming on as a substitute against France at Eden Park on 8 June 2013. He played 36 matches for the Chiefs and 58 for North Harbour. 

Afeaki, of Ngati Awa descent, was also a member of the Maori All Blacks side that commemorated the team’s centenary in 2010. He toured with the Maori All Blacks to Europe in 2012 and North America in 2013. He played a total of eight matches for the team. 

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