WORCESTER Warriors' Callum Black becomes the second player this week to announce his retirement from rugby, bringing an end to a long and successful career with the club.

Black, 35, has made 103 appearances for Warriors in two spells at Sixways having played 145 times for Ulster Rugby in between.

He joined Warriors’ 100 Club in the opening match of this season against London Irish at Sixways in November and made his most recent appearance as a replacement against Leicester Tigers ten days ago.

“From the age of 14 I knew I wanted to do whatever it took to try and become a professional rugby player,” Black said.

“I never would have thought I would go on to play over 100 games for two great clubs. I feel very privileged and grateful for the opportunities I have had through rugby, it has given me so much and moulded me into the person I am today.

“I would never say I was the most talented player but I tried to play each game as if it was my last and leave it all on the pitch.

“To all the lads I’ve played with over the years it’s been an absolute pleasure both on and off the pitch, memories that I’ll never forget. I’ll miss the pre match buzz, the banter we shared and enjoying a post match beer in the changing room after a hard-fought win.

“I owe a lot to my parents for sacrificing their time and weekends driving me to rugby pitches all over the country when I was younger. To Andrew Stanley for giving me that first opportunity by letting me come over to the Worcester Academy from Hartpury.

“Also a special mention for the late John Brain who believed in me to give me and gave me my first shot in the first team. To finish my career with Worcester is special to me and I thank Solly for having the faith in me to sign me.

“I hope to see Worcester fulfil its potential as a top six side and fight for silverware in the very near future, for the legend that put the club where it is today, Cecil Duckworth. What a special man he was and what a pleasure to have known him.

“The pandemic has made me appreciate even more so the presence of family, friends and supporters on match day, so thank you to all that have supported me during my career.

“Rugby comes with a lot of highs and lows and most importantly I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wife Lucy and our two girls Orla and Tillie, my biggest fans whether we win or lose. I hope I have made them proud and it feels the right time to hang the boots up and spend more time with my family."

During an illustrious career Black represented Emerging Ireland and played for Ireland at every age group from Under-18s to Under-21s. He was part of the Ulster squad that reached the 2012 Heineken Cup final and a member of the Warriors’ squad that won the Championship title in 2011.

Like his Warriors team-mate Matt Cox, who announced his retirement on Monday, Black has already made plans for his future away from rugby by setting up Guilt Trip Coffee and Donuts with his front-row colleague Nick Schonert. As well as having two shops in Worcester, Guilt Trip has one in Broadway and six in Northern Ireland.