Phil Waugh announced today that he will retire from professional Rugby at the end of 2011.
Waugh is the most-capped player in the history of NSW Rugby, and he has also captained his state on almost twice as many occasions than any other player.
His 79 Tests place him twelfth on the Wallabies all-time list, and he has also had the honour of leading his country.
Waugh said that while he still feels physically and mentally capable of playing at the highest level for a few years yet, he believes now is the right time to move into a career in business.
“It’s been an honour and privilege to represent my state for the past 13 years and to represent my country over the past decade,” said Waugh. “At 31, I’m excited about transitioning to the next phase of my life and the challenges I will face in forging a business career.
“I started playing when I was four at the Narrabeen Tigers and I need to thank the support I’ve had from everyone at all levels of the game – at Narrabeen, Warringah Juniors, the Shore School, Sydney University Football Club, NSW Rugby Union and the Australian Rugby Union.
“I still have a huge interest in club Rugby, junior Rugby and the development of Rugby in this state and I’d like to encourage the ARU to continue their strong support for those levels of the game.
“It’s sad to leave what’s been such a huge part of my life, but in saying that I’ve been very fortunate to be in this environment for as long as I have.”
Waugh came to prominence during his time at Shore when he went on to represent Australian Schoolboys in 1996 and 1997.
He was selected for Australian U19s in 1998 and was also picked for the U21s team which he represented for three years, captaining the side in 2000.
Waugh made his state debut against ACT as a 19-year-old in 1999 and made his Super Rugby debut against the Stormers in 2000, with Newlands remaining one of his favourite grounds anywhere in the world.
Later that year Waugh was picked in the Wallabies squad and made his Test debut against England at Twickenham.
In 2001 Waugh captained NSW for the first time against the Sharks in Durban, later leading his state against the British & Irish Lions. He also captained Australia ‘A’ to victory over the Lions later in the tour.
He went on to play in the first of two Rugby World Cups in 2003 and won the John Eales Medal that year.
Waugh captained Australia for the first time against Wales in 2006 at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, going on to be undefeated in his three Tests as captain.
Waugh earned his 100th NSW cap in the 2008 Super 14 semi-final, with victory allowing him to lead the HSBC Waratahs to just their second ever final.
Only the fourth player to bring up a century of games for NSW, in 2009 Waugh became only the third player to notch 100 Super Rugby appearances for the HSBC Waratahs.
In 2010, Waugh passed Chris Whitaker as the most-capped NSW player and most-capped NSW captain in the clash with the Lions, with the HSBC Waratahs celebrating the milestone with a record Super Rugby win.
Waugh won the Matthew Burke Cup for the HSBC Waratahs Players’ Player in 2004 and has won Best Forward in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Waugh will play his 136th match for NSW against the Blues in the Super Rugby Qualifier at Eden Park, captaining his state for the 58th time.
Born: 22 September 1979, Sydney NSW
Physical: 180cm, 100kg
Junior Club: Narrabeen Tigers
Club: Sydney University
State Caps: 135*
State Points: 65 [13t]
State Caps as Captain: 57*
State Wins as Captain: 35*
State Debut: 1999 v Brumbies
Super Rugby Caps: 131*
Super Rugby Points: 65 [13t]
Super Rugby Caps as Captain: 55*
Super Rugby Wins as Captain: 35*
Super Rugby Debut: 2000 v Stormers
Test Caps: 79^
Test Points: 20 [4t]
Test Caps as Captain: 3
Test Debut: 2000 v England
* HSBC Waratahs Record
^ 12th all-time for Australia