Leicester Rugby Union and England scrum-half Harry Ellis has announced that he will retire from the game after failing to recover from several knee problems. The 28-year-old, who won 27 caps, required a reconstruction of his left knee in 2007 and sustained a second injury in the same area last season.

Now, having taken a medical advice, Ellis has decided he has no option but to quit playing rugby.

“The most difficult decision for any player to make is about when they have to stop playing,” said Ellis. “But, after taking medical advice, unfortunately I have to announce my retirement.

“I’ve loved every minute of my rugby career with Leicester, England and the British and Irish Lions.

“I would like to thank the club and medical staff for their help in my time at Leicester and thank all of my colleagues and the fans who have given me such great support.

“This is not the way I wanted to end my career because I have always taken great enjoyment from the game of rugby and I have some very special memories.

“But now I will have to consider other options for the future and take on a new challenge.”

Ellis was out of action for 10 months after rupturing cruciate ligaments in 2007 and made just 24 of his 173 Tigers appearances in the three years since.

A product of Leicester’s academy, Ellis was capped for the Lions on their tour of South Africa last year

He first played representative rugby for England at Under-16 level and made his est debut against South Africa in 2004.

Ellis’s final England appearance was in the 26-12 victory over Scotland at Twickenham in March last year.

Leicester Rugby Union head coach Richard Cockerill said: “It’s always a sad day when injury ends the career of any player, and Harry has been a valuable and popular member of the squad here for almost 10 years.

“We wish him well in whatever the future may hold for him and thank him for his service to the club.”

England manager Martin Johnson, who played alongside Ellis at Leicester in the latter stages of his own career, said: “I was sorry to hear the news about Harry having to retire from the game because of injury.

“Harry has been an excellent player who always gave everything for Leicester and England.

“From the first time he was involved it was obvious to everyone in the Tigers squad that he was a special talent and that he’d make a big impact for Leicester and England.”

Former lock Johnson, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning captain, added: “I am sure that if he’d been fit Harry would have continued to make a huge contribution to his club and country for many years to come.

“On behalf of the England squad I’d like to wish Harry all the best for the future.”