Dragons Director of Rugby Robert Beale has described finding out hooker Lloyd Burns has been forced to retire from the game after a neck injury and may need to undergo heart surgery as "a massive shock" and something that "will resonate throughout the rugby world".
27 year old Burns, who played a key role in Wales World Cup campaign last year has been forced to retire from all rugby with immediate effect, after tests on the neck injury that have kept him sidelined since January also revealed damage to a major artery in his heart.
In a statement Beale went on to say "everything Lloyd has achieved in life he has earned through hard work and dedication, his enforced retirement from the game has come as a massive shock to Lloyd and his family and will resonate throughout the rugby world."
"I am personally relieved that this serious condition has been identified off the field of play and would therefore like to thank our medical team at the Dragons, staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital and University of Wales Cardiff for all their efforts in ensuring Lloyd has and will continue to receive the highest standards of care."
Burns' rise to prominence on the international scene marked a momentous 2011 for the Panteg born player.
– Robert Beale, Dragons Director of Rugby
I am personally relieved that this serious condition has been identified off the field of play and would therefore like to thank our medical team at the Dragons, staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital and University of Wales Cardiff for all their efforts in ensuring Lloyd has and will continue to receive the highest standards of care.
After making his mark in the domestic Premiership with Cross Keys, and then the Dragons, Burns cut short his wedding celebrations to make his international début against the Barbarians in June 2011, the day after getting married.
He went on to be named in Warren Gatland's squad for New Zealand, coming off the bench three times, starting once and scoring one try.
The WRU has thanked Burns for his "massive contribution" to Welsh rugby during his career.
– Joe Lydon, WRU Head of Rugby
All of us involved in Welsh rugby want to pass on our best wishes for the future to Lloyd after his sadly enforced retirement from the sport. We can only imagine his disappointment especially given the incredible recognition he has earned at the top level of the sport in Wales over the past year in particular. Of course the most important issue for Lloyd is his continued good health, but he can look back on a playing career in which he truly proved his potential. Apart from winning his caps, one important legacy he can be proud of is how he proved to us all that the standard of rugby being played in the Principality Premiership here in Wales can equip players to achieve their potential at the highest level.