We are sad to announce that prop Samson Lee has been forced to retire from rugby because of injury at the age of 31.
A home-grown player from Llanelli who came through the Scarlets Academy, Samson played 164 matches for the Scarlets across 12 seasons.
After making his senior debut as a 19-year-old against Narbonne in 2012, he quickly built a reputation as a powerful scrummaging tight-head and earned his Wales Test debut against Argentina a year later.
He went on to win 45 caps for Wales, playing in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and was a member of the Grand Slam-winning side of 2019.
A popular member of the Scarlets squad, Samson anchored the scrum during the title-winning campaign of 2016-17, but hasn’t featured since rupturing his Achilles tendon in a training ground injury out in South Africa in March last year.
Samson said: “It has been a difficult 18 months. I have worked hard to try and get back playing again, but the Achilles hasn’t recovered as we all hoped it would.
“I feel as though I still had a lot to offer, both with the Scarlets and Wales, but I’m hugely proud, as a Llanelli boy, that I have been able to represent my home town, wearing the Scarlets jersey 164 times and also play for my country on the biggest stage.
“There have been plenty of highs, making my debut at the age of 19, brilliant wins in Europe and of course, that PRO12 title out in Dublin – a special day with a special group of people. There have also been the challenges of trying to battle back from some serious injuries.
“I was hoping there would be a few more years left, but it’s not to be. There’s a lot of fantastic young talent coming through here, especially in the front row, and I look forward to seeing how they get on over the coming years.
“I’d like to thank my family and friends, players, coaches and all the staff who have made it such a brilliant experience over the last 12 years and, of course, the fans, who turn up week in week out and give us such incredible support. Thank you all.”
Supporters will have a chance to say their farewells to the fans favourite when Samson leads out the side with his family before our Boxing Day derby against the Ospreys.
Paying tribute to a player who has been a mainstay of the squad over the last decade or so, Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It’s sad news for us all, Samson has been a big part of this club for a long time and a real character and leader within the group.
“We have all seen how hard he has worked to try to get back playing again, but he should be immensely proud of what he achieved for this club, one of our finest ever tight-head props and a player who gave his all for the jersey every time he played.
“We all wish him and his family well for the future and I’m sure he will get a deserved ovation from the Scarlets supporters before our game here against the Ospreys on Boxing Day.”