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Catchpole retires from professional rugby

George Catchpole has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the close of the 2017/18 season.

Born and raised in Norfolk, Catchpole represented Eastern Counties while attending Norwich School and he 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.

Catchpole, 24, said: “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.

“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.”

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.”