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Tom Croft retires with 'immediate effect'

By RugbyPass
Tom-Croft

Former England, Lions and current Leicester Tigers backrow Tom Croft has retired with immediate effect.

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The 6’6, 105kg 31-year-old forward has been forced to retire on medical grounds – namely a neck injury.

Speaking on the Leicester Tigers website, Croft said: “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.

“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 .”

A Tigers academy graduate, Croft made his senior debut a week after his 20th birthday in 2005, going on to play in four Premiership title-winning teams and in the 2009 European Cup Final during 173 first-team appearances. He also scored 27 tries in a Tigers shirt.

He gained the first of 40 caps for England in 2008 and played in five Tests during two tours with the Lions, memorably scoring two tries on his Test debut for them in South Africa in 2009.

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In 2012, Croft suffered a serious neck injury in a Premiership game at Harlequins but returned to action with club and country after an eight-month recovery period. He enjoyed a joint testimonial with Matt Smith in 2015/16, a team-mate he had come through the system with since their time together as teenagers at Oakham School.

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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