Plymouth Albion’s 22 times capped Canadian international Sean-Michael Stephen has announced that he going to retire at the end of the season.
31 year old Stephen is in his sixth season at Albion having joined the club from French club AS Beziers Herault.
Stephen will be returning to his native Canada and he intends to use his Masters degree in Business Studies to start a career away from rugby.
Speaking about his decision to hang up his boots Stephen said, “My primary reason for finishing is my family but my body and mind is telling me now is the time to stop.
“In my six years playing for Albion the club has gone through many changes on and off the field but I will miss the camaraderie of the players and the lifestyle of being a professional rugby player.
“The standard of the Championship has improved in the time I have been at Albion. The players are more skilful and the overall quality of the teams is higher.”
Albion head coach James Shanahan said, “Sean-Michael puts his body on the line each week for Plymouth Albion and he is very well respected by the rest of the players.
“The isn’t a great deal of loyalty in professional rugby and to stay six years at Albion is great credit to Sean-Michael. There have been many ups and downs at Albion over the last six years but during that time Sean-Michael has shown a lot of character.
“It is unfortunate for us that Sean-Michael has decided to retire but I respect his decision.”
Plymouth Albion chairman Dr Graham Stirling said, “On behalf of the Board and management team I would like to thank Sean-Michael for his massive contribution to the club both on and off the field.
“He has been a wonderful ambassador for Albion and without doubt the most consistent player during his six seasons with us. A great individual and team player who will be sorely missed.”
Stirling added, “We wish Sean-Michael, Nicole, Cael and the baby almost with us all the very best as they return to their family in Canada. You will always be welcome back at Albion.”
Stephen’s last home game for Albion will be against Ealing Trailfinders on April 19 and club officials are hoping fans will come out in force to show their appreciation.