Devine hangs up his boots



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Former All Black and current Blues and Auckland half back Steve Devine, will no longer play rugby. Numerous concussions suffered during his decade long career have resulted in specialists advising the 30-year-old that it is time to give up the game for good.

Devine suffered a concussion in the opening round of this year’s Air New Zealand Cup match against Counties-Manukau and has still not recovered.

‘Headaches, fatigue and memory loss are ongoing problems for me and after several weeks of delayed recovery, tests and scans, the final decision was one I didn’t want to hear ‘ but I realise it is for my own good,’ says a disappointed Devine.

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In 2006, the 80kg halfback missed most of the Blues campaign due to a concussion suffered early on in the competition.

‘I was aware in 2006 that I might have been running on borrowed time, but if I could, I would be back on the field tomorrow,’ says Devine in typical optimism.

However, with a young family (the second son arriving only four weeks ago), Devine admits he must now look out for more than himself ‘ and hopes for some significant improvement in the next few months.

‘I’ve been working on rehabilitation for weeks and have had excellent medical specialists keeping a close eye on my progress, which to be honest, is not as quick as we would like. So the call has been made for me ‘ that’s it.’

When asked to name a career highlight spanning nearly a decade, his cheeky reply is ‘To have been born and raised in Australia and yet play for the greatest team in world rugby, the All Blacks, would have to take top spot.’

Named an All Black in 2002, Devine played 10 tests before undergoing knee reconstruction the following year. He has 70 Super Rugby caps and has played 78 games for Auckland.

New Zealand Rugby Union Professional Rugby Manager, Neil Sorensen says the thoughts of the NZRU and wider rugby community were with Devine.

‘Premature retirement from the game can be difficult for players but Steve finishes knowing he excelled at the very top of the game.

‘He has been a wonderful player for Auckland, the Blues and the All Blacks over the years and was a standout for the All Blacks when he made his debut against England in 2002.’

Blues coach David Nucifora acknowledges the substantial contribution Devine has made to the Blues.

‘Steve has given a lot to the Blues over many seasons, and we have genuinely benefited from his experience and leadership, especially this year. As a member of the leadership group, Steve has earned respect amongst his peers and on the field he is dynamic and committed. I’m sorry to see him forced out of the game and he will be missed from the Blues next year.’

Auckland coach Pat Lam describes Devine as the most competitive player he has ever coached and his premature departure will be a big loss to the team, both on and off the field

‘Stevie is a real fighter. Whatever he is doing he gives 100% every time and has set that standard for everybody in our squad. As the most capped player, he is a leader in our team and I believe that will see him continue on in rugby for a long time ‘ most likely in a coaching role.’

But for now, Devine’s focus is on recovery. ‘I need to get myself right first and spend time with the family. I’ll make plans after that.’

Devine’s retirement is effective immediately.

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