Shoul­der in­jury forces Eng­land’s Clif­ford to re­tire

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Rugby Union - By Ben Coles

Jack Clif­ford, the Har­lequins and Eng­land back-rower, has been forced to re­tire at the age of 27 due to in­jury.

Clif­ford suf­fered a shoul­der dis­lo­ca­tion in his 100th and now fi­nal game for Har­lequins, against Lon­don Ir­ish last Septem­ber, and has since un­der­gone two op­er­a­tions to re­pair the is­sue with­out suc­cess.

Clif­ford emerged as promis­ing tal­ent dur­ing his time with the Eng­land Un­der-20 side, cap­tain­ing Eng­land to the 2013 Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship with a side who in­cluded Henry Slade, Jack Now­ell, An­thony Wat­son and Luke CowanDicki­e.

He went on to be capped by Ed­die Jones in the Eng­land head coach’s first game in charge in 2016, winning 10 caps and be­ing part of the 2016 Grand Slam and un­beaten tour of Aus­tralia. He fin­ishes his Eng­land ca­reer with a 100 per cent win record, hav­ing scored his only Test try when start­ing at No 8 against Wales in May 2016. Clif­ford said: “I am ab­so­lutely gut­ted to 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.”

Paul Gus­tard, the head of rugby, said: “It is with sad­ness that ‘Jack­man’ has been forced to re­tire. 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 is first and fore­most a great hu­man be­ing.”

Painful fi­nale: Jack Clif­ford dis­lo­cated his shoul­der in his 100th game for Har­lequins

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