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Thursday Nov 16, 2017

#TBT - Tom Croft retires but this 2007 try will be remembered forever

#TBT - Tom Croft retires but this 2007 try will be remembered forever

Leicester Tigers, England and British and Irish Lions forward Tom Croft has today confirmed his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect. He has been forced to retire on medical grounds, after persistent concerns with a neck injury.

“I’ve played professional rugby at Leicester for 12 years and in that time I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” Croft, 31, said. “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.

In 2012, Croft suffered a serious neck injury in a league game at Harlequins but returned to action with club and country after an eight-month recovery period.

Croft’s brilliant try for Leicester in 2013

After another neck injury this season and, after consulting a specialist, he has been advised to retire from the professional game.

“There are so many big games to look back on,” said Croft. “But making my debut for Tigers against Gloucester in 2005, gaining my first England cap and wearing the Lions shirt on two tours are up there with my best memories of the game.

“I’ve had great support from so many people and there are so many mates I’ve grown up with in the game, guys like Matt Smith who I first met at school, Dan Cole, Tom and Ben Youngs, guys who I came through the Tigers academy with at a similar time and are still the core of the club today.”

Below is a look at a classic try that Croft scored ten years ago, when the England Saxons beat New Zealand Maori to win the Churchill cup Final at Twickenham.


  • 10stonenumber10
    11:51 PM 22/11/2017

    Fair enough, I get it wrong a lot, mainly about forwards... No disservice, he was an outstanding player! I was under the impression that he was under utilised rather than injured

  • im1
    4:49 PM 20/11/2017

    I think you'd be wrong. The number 1 reason why he never got as many caps as he should have was due to injury. 3 knee injuries including a cruciate plus a neck fracture. Its amazing he managed 40 England caps and 5 Lions caps.

  • 10stonenumber10
    10:08 PM 17/11/2017

    England have managed to produce a lot of in between players. 6.5s, 14.5s, 10/12s... Croft was a 5.5.... too athletic to be an out and out 5, too big to be a ground hog back rower, not quite big enough to be a lump in the engine room. Like many players, his versatility counted against him, on paper others had better positional stats (turnovers, line outs won etc.) but they never offered even half of his dynamism. You kind of get the feeling he was a quality back, shoved into the pack at school age due to being bigger than everyone else. A natural attacking talent stifled by having his head wedged between the prop and hooker's arses 20x a game It is no surprise that he represented the England 7s team

  • finedisregard
    9:20 PM 17/11/2017

    Fastest forward I've ever seen.

  • drg
    3:10 PM 17/11/2017

    Yeh, seemed to be quite a common name thrown around, but never seemed to get much limelight expected with his name.. would I be right in saying he didn't seem to be around at the right time, as in, he didn't fit certain game plans that some of the England coaches had? I seem to remember there being a time where England we're sorted in backrows and sorted in second rows, but Crofts name kept coming up saying he should be in there somewhere...

  • 2:46 PM 17/11/2017

    Shame, his 5 British lions caps are testament to the quality talent and ability he had.


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