Former England captain Lewis Moody announced his retirement from rugby Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Bath flanker called time on his international career after last year's World Cup and said on his website (www.lewismoody.co.uk) that he now had to accept his complete retirement from the game.

Rugby has been my life for such a long time now, it is scary to imagine what it will be like without it, but I look forward to relishing the new opportunities and adventures that will come my way, he said.

Moody, a World Cup winner in 2003 who took over as captain from Steve Borthwick in 2010, had his leadership credentials called into question at the last World Cup where he struggled to find his best form and England's campaign ended in abject failure.

Hugely popular with fans and team mates alike for his fearless approach, Moody won seven Premiership titles during a 14-year spell with Leicester before moving to Bath in 2010. He was capped 71 times by England.

His career has, however, been plagued by injuries and he thanked the doctors and physios who had helped him keep playing for so long.

He said a shoulder injury picked up some months ago had not allowed him back.

It's never the way you'd like to go out but I've had a wonderful time and I've absolutely loved this sport, he told Sky Sports television.

The body says it's time but unfortunately the mind never will. The mind will never give up but the body does at some point.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Sonia Oxley)