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Aviva Premiership
Gloucester stalwart forced to retire
ESPN Staff
December 20, 2012
Alex Brown made 227 appearances for Gloucester in the Premiership © PA Photos
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Gloucester second-row Alex Brown has been forced to retire due to a shoulder injury.

Brown sustained the injury in the opening game of the season against Northampton and despite three months on the sidelines of rest and rehabilitation, Brown has failed to recover from the injury. Gloucester say that the nerve damage was "significantly more serious than initially thought".

The news means that Brown will finish his Gloucester career with 227 Premiership appearances to his name. He joined Gloucester from Bristol ahead of the 2003-04 season and is the current holder for 'Most Consecutive Premiership Starts' with a run of 87.

And Brown, who has three England caps to his name, admitted that he was "totally gutted" by the news. "I was so looking forward to this season and beyond," Brown said. "When the surgeon came in after the operation and told me that I would not be able to play rugby again, the news hit me hard and has been tough to deal with, especially as there has been a new dawn at Gloucester Rugby under Nigel Davies and I so wanted to be part of it.

"I've kept myself involved on match days, which has been a diversion but it's obviously not the same as playing. I genuinely thought that I had a few good years left in me but it's not to be. I've had to take on board the advice I have received and what my body is telling me."

Brown is currently in his testimonial year at Gloucester so that will now be his focus. He added: "I've still got lots of things to focus on and enjoy for the rest of the season; my continued work with the team and the testimonial activities that the committee have kindly organised for this year. It will give me an opportunity to thank everyone who has been so good to me over the years."

The Rugby Players' Association rugby director David Barnes added: "I am so disappointed for Alex. I understand the frustration and uncertainty he will now be experiencing at being forced to retire from the game he loves. Alex is one of the most respected players across the Aviva Premiership for his commitment, professionalism and his understanding of the game.

"He has been synonymous with Gloucester for the last 10 seasons - an abrasive Shed favourite on the field and one of the nicest men you could wish to meet off it. The irony is not lost on us that this year Alex has generously been supporting Restart - The Rugby Players' Charity, to help other players who have suffered serious injury and illness, and now he too finds himself in this position.

"We will continue to work closely with Alex as he begins to plan the next stage of his life. He has had an outstanding rugby career and he possesses all the attributes needed to become equally as successful in his next career."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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