Andrew Sheridan, the former England and British and Irish Lions prop forward, has been forced to retire with immediate effect because of a neck injury.
The 34 year-old, who won 40 caps for his country and played in two Tests for the Lions, still had one year left on his contract at Toulon but has been advised to stop playing on medical grounds after surgery failed to correct a long-standing neck injury.
Sheridan, who joined Toulon in 2012 after nine seasons at Sale Sharks, last played for the Top 14 side against Biarritz at the Stade Felix Mayol, when he aggravated a problem that had flared up in the previous November.
He was informed of the news during the last two weeks, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.
He leaves the game as one of England’s most decorated forwards who at his peak was regarded as one of the most destructive scrummagers in the world game.
He won the Premiership with Sale in 2006 and the Heineken Cup with Toulon in 2013 when they beat French rivals Clermont Auvergne in the Dublin final.
He also played a significant part in helping Toulon to the Heineken Cup and Top 14 double last season before injury intervened in February.
He will be remembered most by England supporters for his thunderous scrummaging performances in the red rose shirt however.
He announced himself on the international stage on his first Test start in 2005 against Australia and then famously destroyed the Wallabies scrum in the World Cup quarter-final in Marseille when he humiliated opposition prop Matt Dunning.
He went on to play for England in the World Cup final defeat by South Africa and two years later made two Test appearances for the Lions in South Africa, having also made the tour of New Zealand in 2005.
Sheridan will now pursue a career in the wine trade.