A WELSH rugby international who used to play for Ammanford RFC has retired from rugby due to injury.

The Llanelli-born prop came through the Scarlets Academy after joining at under16 level and played rugby at Felinfoel RFC. He started playing for Ammanford RFC in 2012 before moving on to Llanelli RFC where he made 15 appearances in two seasons.

He was one of the stars of the Junior World Championship in 2012 in South Africa, where Wales U20 beat the Junior All Blacks for the first time ever and reached the semi-finals.

In August 2012, shortly after coming back from South Africa, he made his senior debut for the Scarlets against Narbonne in a pre-season friendly. Despite still being a teenager, he made 28 appearances for the region in his debut season and earned his first call up to the senior Wales squad as cover for the injured Adam Jones, but did not feature in any games.

His senior Wales debut came the following year when he came on off the bench in Wales’ 40-6 win over Argentina on November 16, 2013.

In that season, he was named in the 2013/14 PRO12 Dream Team, highlighting his impressive performances across the season.

He would go on to make 164 appearances for the Scarlets over 12 seasons, including winning the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and playing in the 2018 final where they lost to Leinster again in Dublin.

Samson went on to win 45 caps for Wales and represented the nation at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and featured in the 2019 Grand Slam winning side.

He was known for his powerful scrummaging as a tight-head prop but has not featured since rupturing his Achilles tendon in training when out in South Africa in March 2022 and has made the decision to retire from rugby at the age of 31.

Samson said: “It has been a difficult 18 months. I have worked hard to try and get back playing again, but the Achilles hasn’t recovered as we all hoped it would.

“I feel as though I still had a lot to offer, both with the Scarlets and Wales, but I’m hugely proud, as a Llanelli boy, that I have been able to represent my home town, wearing the Scarlets jersey 164 times and also play for my country on the biggest stage.

“There have been plenty of highs, making my debut at the age of 19, brilliant wins in Europe and of course, that PRO12 title out in Dublin – a special day with a special group of people. There have also been the challenges of trying to battle back from some serious injuries.

“I was hoping there would be a few more years left, but it’s not to be. There’s a lot of fantastic young talent coming through here, especially in the front row, and I look forward to seeing how they get on over the coming years.

“I’d like to thank my family and friends, players, coaches and all the staff who have made it such a brilliant experience over the last 12 years and, of course, the fans, who turn up week in week out and give us such incredible support. Thank you all.”