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Jake Polledri explains reason behind immediate retirement

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Monday Mar 4, 2024

Jake Polledri has announced his immediate retirement from rugby at the young age of 28 after failing to recover from injury.

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Most recently playing for Zebre in the URC, Polledri was a big hit with fans of the Italian side. He was also a former cult hero at English side, Gloucester.

Twitter page, @ItalianRugbyPod echoed the thoughts of many, saying: “If there was a Rugby Ultimate Team – Prime 2018/19 Season Polledri makes almost any team in the world. So many of you (to this day) ask about him, one of the great Italian players forced off the pitch prematurely.”

The former Italian international has shared a statement explaining his decision.

“From Rugby Tots to a Rugby World Cup, over the past 20+ years rugby has been my life. It has opened my eyes to many countries, formed great friendships and kept my brain in gear when times have been tough.

“Some of my best memories have been made in the Azzurri Jersey. For that, I am so thankful to the Italy for believing in me and supporting my rugby.

“Playing International Rugby was a wild childhood dream that lived up to every expectation. From Summer Tours, to Six Nations and breaking Records in the Japan 2019 RWC.

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“My return to the pitch from my catastrophic knee injury in 2020 was tough. A lot of people wrote me off immediately, which didn’t deter me. From complete paralysis in my foot to 677 days later being able to run out at Gloucester Kingsholm again. The support from the Kingsholm fans was immense and is cherished.

“Thank you to Gloucester for all the years of support, I could not have recovered this far without the incredible team of physios and S&C. Enabling me to uphold my promise to my late brother Sam, that I was to return to the pitch.

“My foot however hasn’t returned back to 100% and ultimately it has affected my ability to return to the high level of rugby I played, and it has also affected life generally. I have reluctantly accepted that my body and professionals are telling me retire from the sport that I love.

Thank you to Zebre for giving me a shot to get back to the field. To which we achieved after a few shoulder surgeries. The medical team and S&C at Zebre have been amazing without them I wouldn’t have been able to hold my son Oakley on the pitch. This was an unforgettable experience. My time in Italy although short has been amazing and I have met some great people.

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“I look forward to my next chapter and I will remain positive in what it can bring. Carrying that rugby & family mentality in whichever role I take on next.

“Thank you to all who have offered support in following my journey, messaging, or saying hello in the street. The Rugby family is amazing, no matter what team or country.”

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