Croft retires on medical grounds

Former England and British & Irish Lions forward Tom Croft has been forced into retirement on medical grounds, Leicester have announced.

Croft won 40 caps for England and toured with the Lions in both 2009 and 2013 as well as spending 12 years in the Tigers first team.

He made 173 appearances for Leicester, winning four Aviva Premiership titles and playing in the Heineken Cup final in 2009.

Croft suffered a serious neck injury at Harlequins in 2012 that sidelined him for eight months. Having suffered a similar injury this season, and after consulting a specialist, Croft, 31, has been advised to hang up his boots.

“I’ve played professional rugby at Leicester for 12 years and in that time I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I’ve played alongside and against some incredible players and made many lifelong friends in the game,” he said.

“Unfortunately I have also suffered some reasonably significant injuries and now, after seeking advice on a neck injury, I have to announce my retirement as a player.

“Leaving the game has been a massive decision for me, it is all I’ve known since leaving school, but with the issues I’ve had fitness-wise over the last few years and with my wife and two young kids at home, it’s the right time to hang the boots up and move on to the next chapter.”