OUR thoughts are with Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales player Lloyd Burns today.

The hooker has been forced to retire after treatment for a neck injury revealed he has a heart problem that may need surgery.

Lloyd’s retirement brings to a premature end one of the most heartwarming British professional sports stories of recent times.

The 27-year-old former bricklayer did not become a regular for the Dragons until last season after playing for Cross Keys and Pontypool.

But such was his impact at Rodney Parade that he ended the season playing for Wales and was a regular substitute during the World Cup campaign.

It was a spectacular rise to the top of the rugby world and it is a great shame that his playing career is over after just seven caps for Wales.

If there is a silver lining to this particular cloud, however, it is that a potentially life-threatening medical condition has been spotted before it could do any real damage.

Lloyd Burns’ career as a rugby player may be over, but it could have been far worse.

Atrue man of Gwent, we wish Lloyd well in whatever he nowdecides to do with his life.