League: Joe Vagana to end UK career

The Kiwi star of Britain's Bradford Bulls rugby league team, "Big Joe" Vagana, has decided to retire to New Zealand - and his last UK game will be next week.

The 33-year-old prop forward put off retirement a year ago, but has now played 239 times for the Bulls since joining them from Auckland Warriors in 2001, the Bradford Telegraph Argus reported.

He will make his farewell appearance against Hull KR at Odsal stadium next Monday.

"I have been at Bradford for eight years and a professional for 15 and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, but the old body is telling me to give it away," said Vagana.

Bradford coach Steve McNamara added: "Joe has probably been up there with Robbie Paul as the most significant overseas signing the club has ever made.

"His presence is simply immense and there will be a whole host of players who will be glad to see the back of Joe Vagana, so they don't have to play against him".

" I am just going to head back to New Zealand and contemplate life after rugby, set up home and get back into the swing of things," said Vagana.

"I've got three boys who all have Yorkshire accents," said the player who arrived at the club in January 2001, only to find he was playing in snow.

Vagana was already a fans favourite before even putting on a Bulls shirt after belting Leeds' player Keith Senior while playing for New Zealand against England in the 2000 World Cup.

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