Sevens stalwart Sherwin Stowers has today announced his retirement from professional rugby after a prominent career for the All Blacks Sevens and Counties Manukau Steelers.
Stowers debuted for New Zealand as an 18-year-old in Dubai in 2004. Since then he has made 38 tournament appearances and scored 126 tries, the fourth-most by any New Zealand player. Stowers has four World Series victories, Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals and a World Rugby Sevens World Cup title to his name.
Stowers said after achieving so much in his rugby career, the time was right to turn his focus to home.
"I decided that after nine seasons with the All Blacks Sevens team it's time to retire and focus on my family, and being a dad.
"With two young kids at home I wasn't able to give as much to them as I would have liked between training, recovery, camps and travel. I would be doing the team an injustice if I kept playing without giving 110 per cent which I have always strived to do."
Stowers paid tribute to his family in remembering an exciting career in the black jersey.
"It will be hard to leave my teammates in the Sevens family, but I know the timing is right. None of this would have been possible without my family's support and I am so grateful for that."
Stowers has been enjoying time at home with his family since the last leg of the World Sevens Series; next year he will work towards gaining primary school teachers registration, working at a school local to his Papatoetoe home.
Stowers said despite hanging up his boots, he has no doubt that he will remain involved in the game of rugby.
"I have gained so much out of rugby that I will be re-paying the favour for sure. I will encourage my kids to play and get involved coaching them, but in the meantime the focus will be on my teaching."
New Zealand Rugby's General Manager of Rugby Neil Sorensen said Stowers had been a fantastic servant to the sevens game.
"Sherwin always brought incredibly high standards into our sevens programme and was a great leader because of that."
Outside of Sevens, Stowers played 78 matches for the Counties Manukau Steelers and he has 18 caps for the Blues Super Rugby club.
Counties Manukau CEO Bart Hoggard also recognised Stowers' considerable contribution to rugby.
"Sherwin has made a huge contribution to Counties Manukau Rugby over the last decade. He is a passionate Counties man who is admired and respected by everyone within the union.
"He was an integral part of the first Counties team to win the Ranfurly Shield in 2013, so he will always have a special place in the heart of our supporters. We wish Sherwin and his family all the best for the next phase of their lives."