Above: Reggie Goodes (centre, headband) and his Poneke teammates track Wellington's Vaea Fifita in a Hardham Cup semi-final in 2014.
Poneke, Wellington Lions and Hurricanes loosehead prop Reggie Goodes has announced his retirement from rugby.
The 26-year-old former Wellington College First XV bookend has made the decision to end his playing career after taking medical advice following a series of concussions.
Goodes has not played since suffering a head knock during a pre-season match for the Hurricanes in February 2017, the third time he had been forced to take extended leave from the game due to concussion since 2014.
“I would have dearly loved to continue playing rugby, but there are more important things in life than sport and I have decided to put my family first and hang up my boots,” Goodes said.
“Although I am pleased to say I am now feeling good the medical advice and my history of head knocks suggests there is a risk there that’s not worth taking.”
Goodes said he had received excellent support since he suffered his latest injury.
“I’d especially like to thank my wife Chelsea who has been there for me every step of the way, but also my past and present Hurricanes and Wellington coaches, teammates, management and medical staff and all the fans who have all been incredibly understanding during what was a difficult time.
“Rugby has given me a lot of great memories, which I will always cherish but I am now looking forward, not backward. Chelsea and I have recently welcomed our daughter into the world and I’m excited about what the future holds as I enter the job market.”
During his enforced time on the sidelines Goodes began a degree in business studies, worked part-time for Ricoh and did volunteer community work around Wellington.
Last month he won the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association 2017 Player Personal Development Award.
South African-born Goodes made his Hurricanes debut in 2012 and represented the Hurricanes 60 times including during the championship winning 2016 season. His form in his final season earned him selection in the Barbarians where he was able to realise a career highlight in playing against his country of birth at Wembley Stadium.
His rugby talent emerged at Wellington College, then through the Poneke Football Club and into the Wellington Lions where he made his debut as a teenager in 2010 before going on to represent his province 45 times.
He made his debut for Poneke earlier in the 2010 season, his starting debut was at tighthead prop against Northern United in a 17-15 Jubilee Cup win. Norths went on to beat Poneke in the final several weeks later. He made 28 starts for Poneke between 2010-2016.
On arrival in New Zealand, aged 14, Goodes was soon an important rugby figure at Wellington College and excelled in athletics, particularly shot put, where he won the McEvedy Shield shot put title which was one of his sporting highlights to date.
“Winning McEvedy and coming first in the shot put and qualifying for nationals were definitely highlights of my college days and also winning the U15 national rugby title,” he told Club Rugby in 2013.
His selection into rugby’s big time came quickly for him. “It came earlier than expected. Four props got injured and I got the call-up,” he said at the time. “It means a lot to me to pull on that jersey, and to my family, particularly my dad and granddad.”
Good luck for the future Reggie Goodes.