Sam Burgess has announced his retirement from playing with immediate effect due to issues relating to a chronic shoulder injury.

Speculation that the South Sydney forward would be forced to hang up the boots has circled for several weeks.

And upon confirming his intentions, Burgess said: “This decision was one of the hardest I’ve had to make in my life, however it was out of my hands.

“I am no longer able to be myself on the training field and consequently the playing field.”

Article continues below the advert

Burgess earned 23 caps for England, and two more for Great Britain.

A product of the Dewsbury Moor community club, Burgess started his professional career with Bradford before making more than 180 appearances for the Rabbitohs in the NRL.

He enjoyed two spells in South Sydney around a short-lived stint in rugby union.

England coach Wayne Bennett paid tribute to Burgess and believes he has made the right decision: “He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney.

“His leadership and capabilities on the field match the man he is off it.

“I thought it was a real blow to the game when he left to play rugby union but I’m glad he saw the light and came back.

“I’m glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.”