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Midlands club rugby left reeling as onfield tragedy strikes

By Paul Smith
Twickenham Stadium /Press Association

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Rugby union in England is today mourning the tragic loss of 27-year-old Evesham RFC winger Jack Jeffery.

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The prolific try scorer was badly injured in the act of scoring during his club’s Midlands Two West (South) away game at Warwickshire’s Balsall & Berkswell.

After being rushed to Coventry’s University Hospital Walsgrave, reports suggest that Jeffery passed away while undergoing emergency surgery.

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Worcestershire-based Evesham issued a statement on the club’s website this morning under the headlines: ‘Today we are at half-mast’ and ‘Too good even for the All Blacks‘ – the club’s nickname.

“It is with immeasurable sadness that we have to report the tragic loss of our beloved Jack Jeffery following our Seniors League fixture at Berkswell & Balsall yesterday 12th February.”

“Jack was adding another try to his phenomenal record and during the act and subsequent challenge of scoring he was injured.

“He was taken to Walsgrave Hospital where he tragically lost his fight.

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“A more committed, loyal ‘Clubman’ is hard to find. He would often return from London for training and was always at the heart of club activities.

“He served his club, his teammates and the county with distinction and provided much satisfaction to the club supporters in knowing exactly where the whitewash was.

“As a club, we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and goodwill from the rugby community. Jack was calm, respected and highly thought of.

“Our club and community have lost such a bright light.

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“On behalf of Evesham Rugby, I thank everyone whom supported Jack in his moment of need yesterday and for all the messages of support I have received from other clubs and the North Mids Union.

“As a mark of respect our club is closed today. We fly at half-mast. Please take a moment today in your prayers and take your moment of silence for Jack, his family, loved ones and friends.”

According to BBC Hereford and Worcester Jack’s father Glenn said his son died “doing what he loved the most, playing rugby.”

It quotes Glenn Jeffery’s statement from Facebook: “It is with great sadness that I need to let you know we lost our beloved son Jack yesterday.”

He described him as the “most kind hearted, generous and beautiful son who enriched the lives of everyone who was lucky to know and have met him”.

“He will be so missed by his family and friends,” he said.

The messages of support include Jeffery’s former schoolmate and club colleague Elliott Stooke who now plays in the second row for Wasps.

“Thoughts are with the family of Jack Jeffery and everyone at EveshamRFC this morning. An old school colleague and team mate of mine. #RIP”

Jimmy Gopperth is another Wasp with strong Midlands junior rugby connections after spending five years as head coach at Evesham’s league rivals Nuneaton Old Edwardians.

Jeffery had represented North Midlands in the County Championship and they have been quick to add to the tributes.

“It is with immeasurable sadness that we have to report the tragic loss of North Midlands player Jack Jeffery from Evesham Rugby Club yesterday 12th February 2022.

“The whole of North Mids sends their sincere condolences to all those who knew Jack and affected by this tragic loss.”

And the sport’s governing body in England have also paid their respects.

Evesham’s local Gallagher Premiership club Worcester Warriors also passed on their best wishes.

And Worcester RFC Chairman Steve Lloyd summed up the sentiments of Midlands clubs perfectly.

“All at Worcester RFC offer thoughts, prayers, love and heartfelt condolences in honour of Jack Jeffery, his family and friends and all at Evesham RFC.

“We stand with you and are here to call on if ever needed. Shocking heartbreaking news. RIP Jack.” 💔💔

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