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Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Thursday, 21 October 2010 11:14 UK

Leicester Tigers lock Richard Blaze forced to retire

Richard Blaze
Blaze made his Tigers debut on the opening day of the 2007/08 season

Leicester Tigers second row Richard Blaze has been forced to retire from professional rugby at the age of 25.

Former England Saxons lock Blaze has failed to fully recover from a stress fracture of the foot - an injury which he first sustained in 2008.

Blaze said: "I've worked hard to come back from the injury.

"But I've been advised that the stress fracture is not going to stand up to the demands of a full-time career and reluctantly announced my retirement."

England Under-19 and Under-21 international Blaze, who joined Tigers from Worcester in 2007, played his final Tigers game against London Irish 12 months ago.

His injury counted him out of much of the 2008/09 season but the 6ft 7in, 18st 8lb forward returned for the start of 2009/10, training with the senior England squad ahead of the autumn internationals before the injury struck again.

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"It's obviously a disappointing moment when you get to the stage where you have to say you cannot play again," Blaze added.

"I've enjoyed my rugby through schools and age-groups, then into the professional game, and I was really looking to push on when I came to Leicester in 2007. But now I will have to move on and make decisions about my future."

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill added: "It's extremely disappointing when a young player has to retire prematurely.

"We signed Richard because he was a young player we could see developing well within our environment, and he made a good impression here on and off the field.

"It is a great pity that injuries stood in his way, and we all feel for him now that he is unable to continue.

"He is a big loss to Leicester Tigers, and also to England, as he has been brought through the international ranks from the age-groups to the verge of the senior squad."



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see also
Blaze fired up by England chance
29 Oct 09 |  Leicester
Leicester sign Blaze and Erinle
22 Feb 07 |  London Wasps


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Eurosport Saturday team news - 2 hrs ago
Scrum.com Blaze forced to retire - 15 hrs ago
Planet Rugby Preview: Leicester v Bath - 18 hrs ago
ESPN.co.uk Departures that shocked sport - 20 hrs ago
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