Cardiff Blues have confirmed that former Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper has left the region to allow him to fully recover from a long-standing groin injury.
The 31-year-old has made just two appearances for the Blues so far this campaign but had to take pain killers to get through those matches and he has been advised by medical staff to take a lengthy break from the game.
Cooper, who joined the Blues from Gloucester in 2009, going on to make 22 appearances, said: “I’ve come to an amicable agreement with Cardiff Blues and would like to thank them for all their support over the years.
“It’s been a frustrating couple of years for me and things haven’t quite worked as I’d hoped. I don’t think I’ve shown my full potential at the Blues due to the groin injury.
“I’ve been told by the medical team that I need a full rest from the game for between six to 12 months. The groin injury started to hurt in the summer of 2009 and it’s got progressively worse.
“Throughout that period I’d been playing with a lot of pain and had to have two operations on the groin and then a double hernia operation.
“This season I’ve played 20 minutes against Treviso and started against Connacht but I had to take pain killers, so the doctors have recommended that I am to rest fully for up to a year.”
The 46-cap half-back, who also counts Bath, Celtic Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons among his former clubs, made a try-scoring debut for Wales against Italy in 2001 and went on to pick up Grand Slam winning medals in 2005 and 2008, while he also toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2005.
His last appearance for his country came against Scotland in last season’s Six Nations.