McCabe confirms he has retired after neck injury

Australia’s Adam Ashley-Cooper drops the ball under pressure from New Zealand’s Julian Savea in their international test Bledisloe Cup rugby match at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, Aug. 23 2014. (AP Photo/SNPA, Ross Setford) NEW ZEALAND OUT

SYDNEY (AP) — Wallabies utility back Pat McCabe has confirmed he's retiring from rugby after injuring his neck again during last weekend's 52-10 Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand.

The 26-year-old McCabe took medical advice to quit after fracturing the C1 vertebra during the Auckland match, the third time in his 24-test career he has injured his neck.

McCabe played 66 times for the ACT Brumbies after making his Super Rugby debut in 2010, the same year he made his international debut for Australia.

"While my playing career has not ended the way I would have liked, I consider myself extremely fortunate," McCabe said in a statement Thursday. "It is an incredible game, has given me so much more than I could have ever dreamed and I will miss it immensely."

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham released news of McCabe's retirement on Wednesday, but the club later issued a statement saying the decision had not been finalized.

Less than 24 hours later, the Australian Rugby Union released a statement with the confirmation.

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie said McCabe made the right decision in terms of his health and future.

"Importantly, he gets to step away from rugby knowing the injury, after rehabilitation, won't have any long-term influence or impact on how he chooses to live his day-to-day life," McKenzie said. "He is one of the smartest and most dedicated individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching and, irrespective of what avenue he chooses to go down, I have no doubt he will be a success."