HARWICH and Dovercourt Rugby Club captain Joe Francis has announced his retirement.

The former Colchester man, who started his career in the backs but now plays in a variety of positions, confirmed his decision after Saturday’s 48-20 defeat at home to West Norfolk.

Only his partner and the club’s coaching staff were aware of his decision, prior to the weekend.

But he told his team-mates after the game.

“It’s something that’s been in my mind since before Christmas,” said Francis.

“But it’s not a decision based on the team, or how things have gone this season.

“It’s down to me, my body and the physical rigours of playing so much rugby.

“I can’t cope with it anymore."

For the full story and more rugby, see this week's Standard.