Harlequins and England back row Jack Clifford has confirmed today that he has been forced to retire through injury.
I am truly gutted to be writing this, but unfortunately I have been forced to retire from rugby - my last injury has not healed well enough for me to continue playing. Rugby is a game I love - I’ve had some amazing… https://t.co/Dh4y4OwC0l
— Jack Clifford (@jackclifford93) August 19, 2020
Battling through two major shoulder surgeries following a dislocation while playing for Harlequins in his 100th game for the Club, the 27-year-old brings to an end a career that saw the impressive young flanker lead the England U20 side to a Junior Rugby Championship title in 2013, going on to earn ten senior England caps and playing in two of the national side’s three-match series whitewash in Australia in 2016, all in addition to a fourteen-year relationship with the Club, having first linked up with Harlequins at 13.
On confirming his retirement, Clifford 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’s Quins senior career began in November 2012 when he made his debut as a replacement in the 31-30 Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Northampton Saints.
Clifford has captained England at Under 18 and Under 20 level, including England’s victory at the Junior World Championship in 2013. The mobile flanker has also represented England in the Sevens World Series in Japan and Hong Kong in 2014 and not only played but scored for an England XV when playing the Barbarians in May 2015.
A fan favourite during his time for club and country, Clifford’s Test debut came as a replacement for Club captain Chris Robshaw during the 2016 Six Nations, arriving from the bench against Scotland at Murrayfield national coach Eddie Jones’ first game in charge of England.