PROP Josh James has thanked Ebbw Vale for giving him the opportunity to play in the Principality Premiership and says he is “gutted” to retire from rugby at the age of just 22.

James decided to quit the game on the back of discussions with medical

experts after several concussions while playing.

The Steelmen, who host RGC 1404 at Eugene Cross Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm), posted the following statement from James on their official website.

“After several concussions and speaking to the experts and my family I have decided to retire with my good health at the ripe old age of 22,” he said.

“I would like to thank Ebbw Vale RFC for giving me the

opportunity to play Premiership rugby.

“It has been my absolute pleasure to have played with this fantastic group of players, I am gutted I will not play my part alongside them on the playing field.

“My family and I would like thank Rhys (Shorney, physio) and Saran (Wyburn, physio) for the professional way they have carried out their duties.

“In my short time at the club I have made lots of friends, players, coaches and Ebbw supporters who are the best in the league.

“I would just like to wish Jon Jones, Greg Woods, Martyn Cooke and the rest of the coaching staff and everyone associated with this great club all the very best for the future!”

Ebbw secretary Ian James added: “We’re absolutely gutted for Josh who has played rugby virtually since he could walk. It’s going to be a big change for him and everyone at Ebbw Vale will miss him.

“Fortunately, Josh has a

really supportive family around him and we all realise he’s got a long, successful and healthy life ahead of him.”

The Steelmen take on RGC after last Saturday's game against Bargoed was abandoned when Newbridge's Ross Cornwell, who was watching the action, suffered a cardiac arrest.