LEE Briers – raised only a stone’s throw from Knowsley Road – is bowing out of international Rugby League.
The St Helens’ born stand-off pulled on the famous red shirt for the final time when Wales faced Australian in their final match of the Gillette Four Nations Championship at Wrexham on Sunday night.
It was a nostalgic occasion for the 33-year-old Warrington Wolves half-back who first came to prominence when replacing the suspended skipper Bobbie Goulding and helping Saints reach the final of the 1997 Challenge Cup Final, only to find himself axed and denied a Wembley spot.
It led to a £65,000 move to neighbours Warrington Wolves where both domestic and international honour have come his way.
Briers, who won his 23rd Welsh cap against the Kangaroos, said: “It has always been special to represent my country and I felt honoured to have led Wales in this year’s Gillette Four Nations campaign.
“But there comes a time in your international life when you realise that it’s difficult to keep putting yourself out there.
“It has been a real tough decision because of the pleasure I’ve had, but sometimes you’ve just got to realise it’s time for the next generation.”
He added: “What Wales have achieved has been remarkable give their resources they have and a huge amount of credit most go to coach Iestyn Harris and general manager Mark Rowley behind the scenes.”