Twenty two years on from the day he first started playing rugby at New Malden-based KCS Old Boys RFC, former England and British & Irish Lions international Alex Corbisiero could be on the brink of walking away from the game for good

The 27-year-old prop announced his departure from Northampton Saints with immediate effect this week as he prepares to take a year away from the game.

Corbisiero, who helped the Saints lift the Aviva Premiership title and European Challenge Cup during his spell at Franklin’s Gardens, has made only 30 appearances for the club due to persistent injury problems since moving north from London Irish in 2013.

He had hoped to remain at the club before taking a sabbatical from the game, but the Northampton management decided on an early release from his contract with best wishes for his future.

Corbisiero, who also turned out for Cobham RFC as a teenager and was educated at Reed’s School and ACS Cobham International School, said: “I’ve had some amazing highs and some frustrating lows while at Saints, but have always been well looked after and supported.

“I've shared some incredible memories and made some great friendships along the way.

“It has been an honour to be part of such a special group of players.”