Norfolk's George Catchpole forced to retire from rugby - at the age of just 24
PUBLISHED: 15:21 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 13 June 2018
Norfolk’s George Catchpole has been forced to retire from professional rugby – at the age of just 24.
Catchpole, who is with Premiership club Leicester Tigers, has been plagued by injuries and illness in recent years.
“I’ve had eight years at Leicester, coming from the academy into the senior squad, and I would like to thank everyone at the club who has played a part in my career,” he said.
“I’ve been here a long time and loved my time with Tigers, but after three tough seasons with illness and injury, I’ve decided that this is a good time to pursue new challenges.”
Former Norwich School pupil Catchpole played junior rugby for North Walsham and is originally from St Olaves, near Great Yarmouth,
He represented Eastern Counties and joined the Leicester Tigers academy as a teenager, making sufficient progress to earn his senior debut against the Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup during November 2013.
Along the way, Catchpole also gained representative selection with England Under-18s and Under-20s, including a victorious World Junior Championship campaign.
He was chosen by team-mates as Players’ Young Player of the Year at Tigers in 2014/15 and played a prominent role on the way to Anglo-Welsh Cup victory in 2016/17.
He made a total of 17 first-team appearances for the club while also gaining experience on loan with Championship clubs Nottingham and Doncaster, though he was hit by injury in his final two seasons at Welford Road.
Head coach Matt O’Connor said: “In my first spell at Tigers, George was coming through the academy system and he went on to play senior first-team rugby here, but now he is moving on to new challenges and we wish him well for the future.”