Super Rugby

Brumbies forward Vaea retires aged 27 on health grounds

Brumbies forward Ita Vaea has retired at the age of 27 due to a heart condition.

The back-rower came off early in Brumbies' 48-23 Super Rugby defeat to Chiefs this month and, after consultation with doctors, has opted to hang up his boots.

"I am extremely disappointed to be retiring under these circumstances," Vaea told Brumbies' official website. "It has truly been an honour to represent the Brumbies over the past five years.

"While my playing career has now ended, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met and shared experiences with special players and coaches who I can call lifelong friends."

Vaea has been battling against the issue for some years and was placed on blood-thinning medication that limited his playing activity and he subsequently missed the 2013 and 2014 Super Rugby seasons.

He returned for the 2015 instalment and was a key member of a Brumbies side that reached the Finals Series.

"It will be hard watching the boys run out, but I know that this is the best decision for myself and my family. Coming back from this last time was something I never thought I could achieve," he added. 

"I am so blessed that I was given a second opportunity. Now I have to concentrate on the next chapter in my life. While I am not sure what is in store for the future, I know that the lessons I have learnt in rugby will serve me well.

"It is an incredible game that has given me so much more than I could have ever dreamed and I will miss it immensely. Thank you to everyone who has made it such a special journey."