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Former England back-row Clifford forced to retire aged 27

Harlequins and former England back-row Jack Clifford has been forced to retire due to a shoulder injury aged just 27.

Clifford suffered a dislocation in his 100th game for Quins against London Irish last September and has since undergone two major operations.

The flanker, who earned 10 England caps and was billed as a potential great, on Wednesday announced his playing days are over.

He said: “I am absolutely gutted to be have to call time on my career at a relatively early stage.

“I have been at Quins since I was 13 years old and made so many good friends here. It has been an absolute pleasure training and playing with the lads each week and I will miss this environment greatly.

“I feel proud to have reached 100 appearances for Quins and it is ironic that the injury was sustained in my 100th game.”

Clifford captained his country at Under-18 and U20 level, leading England to victory at the Junior World Championship in 2013.

He made his senior England debut in a Six Nations victory against Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2016 and would surely have won many more caps but for such misfortune with injuries.

Quins head of rugby Paul Gustard said: “It is with sadness that Jackman has been forced to retire from the game prematurely after another serious injury.

“I have been a huge fan of Jack from my days as an opposition coach and was delighted to be part of an England staff who awarded him his first of 10 England caps.
“He was a player who had the ability to change a game with his explosive pace and offloading skills which, allied to his high work rate, meant he was an important player for us last season when he was a mainstay of the side who finished fifth.” News wire is powered by opta

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