24-year-old Chiefs hooker and former All Blacks Under 20s starter Liam Polwart has announced he is retiring from rugby following ongoing issues with concussion.
Polwart was missing from the Chiefs squad for the 2020 Super Rugby season, and the club didn’t provide an explanation for his omission, but the Bay of Plenty star decided it wasn't worth the risk to play further.
“It has been a difficult decision to make to leave the game I love," Polwart said.
"It has provided me with plenty of great friendships and some awesome experiences. I have had some on-going issues with concussion, and while I am currently symptom free, I chosen to hang up my boots and not to put myself at further risk.
"I am grateful for the opportunities rugby has provided me and the support I have received. Now it is time to start a new chapter."
Polwart played 26 games for the Chiefs since his 2017 debut along with 15 Mitre 10 Cup games for the Bay of Plenty.
He was also a member of the 2015 All Blacks Under 20s team that won the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy where he started at hooker in the final against England.
Chiefs forwards coach Neil Barnes commended Polwart for his brave decision.
"Polwart is a fantastic individual, he is a talented player and can be proud of his achievements in his short yet prosperous career," Barnes said.
"It is a testament to his character to have chosen to make this decision for his own well-being and we applaud him for being so courageous.
"We wish him all the best for the future and hope he will return to the game and inspire a future generation."