Gareth Thomas has announced he is retiring from rugby with immediate effect.

The Wales international said he could no longer give “100 per cent” to the sport.

His management company broke the news today and his spokesperson Emanuele Palladino said: “We can confirm that Gareth Thomas is officially retiring from both international and club rugby with immediate effect.

“This marks the end of what has been a remarkable career for a remarkable person. Gareth hopes that through his achievements both on and off the field he has left a lasting legacy within the game.”

Thomas, 37, added: “I have listened and discussed this decision with many of my family and close friends. My mind has told me that the time to retire is now.

“If you can’t give 100 per cent to rugby then you can’t do it justice. This is a sad day, but I know that my time has come to an end as a player. My passion for the amazing game will never end or leave me however.”

The star was due to play for Wales against England in the Gillette Four Nations Series on Saturday.

Born in Sarn, Bridgend, Thomas spent most of his career in rugby union with Cardiff. After coming out as gay in December 2009, he switched to rugby league, making his debut for Wales against Italy last year.

Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke recently announced he plans to make a film about Thomas’ life and will play the rugby star.

Thomas said today: “I do not know what lies ahead, but I feel the challenge of something different excites me more than another year of rugby.”

“I would like to thank everyone I have been involved with in the sport. I could not have achieved it without any of them. I have great memories and great friends that I will keep for the rest of my life.

“I leave knowing I have done everything in my power to be the best person and player I could have ever been. And finally, I thank my parents for all their support and help throughout my career.”