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London Irish and Scotland centre Joe Ansbro has been forced to retire aged just 27 conceding he can’t recover from a broken neck he suffered in August sufficiently to return to rugby.

Ansbro suffered a fracture in his vertebrae for London Irish in a friendly against Irish side Munster and was lucky to avoid serious nerve damage.

He’d hoped to add to the 11 caps to his name, including 2011 World Cup appearances, and worked with Scotland’s medical team to do, but has be told retirement is his only option.

"To gain international recognition with Scotland has been an immense honour; victories over South Africa and Australia stand out," Ansbro said. "Playing this great game at the highest level is a privilege and I will always look back on my career with fond memories."

"Thank you also to all the supporters, players, coaches and staff at Scottish Rugby for making the responsibility of representing Scotland such an enjoyable experience.”

"Finally, thank you to my family, friends and agent for their continuing support and positive influence."

Not surprisingly, tributes have flowed following the announcement.

Scotland captain Kelly Brown said: "Joe has been a truly talented rugby player and an all-round good guy. I'm sure we'll miss him but, equally, I'm delighted that he'll be able to get on with normal life outside rugby. Good luck Joe."

London Irish coach Brian Smith said: "This is incredibly sad news for Joe and for everyone at London Irish. He has remained extremely committed to the club during his injury and his presence around the squad has been a huge lift for all the players.

"He is a very intelligent and articulate young man and I have no doubt that he will be as committed to his next career as he has been to rugby. Everyone at the club wishes Joe all the best for the future."

Image via Getty


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London Irish and Scotland centre Joe Ansbro quits rugby after failing to recover from broken neck
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