Chiefs lock Craig Clarke forced into retirement

Last updated 21:07 04/06/2014
Craig Clarke
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ENFORCER: Craig Clarke was vital for the Chiefs' two Super Rugby-winning campaigns.

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Former Chiefs captain Craig Clarke has announced his retirement from rugby after ongoing concussion problems while playing for Irish club Connacht.

Clarke, 30, left the Chiefs after five seasons there, including leading them to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and last year as co-captain with Liam Messam.

The two-metre tall lock played only 15 games this year for Connacht, for whom he had signed a three-year contract, but his leadership skills were quickly identified with Kiwi coach Pat Lam promoting him to on-field captain.

Clarke's main regret on leaving the game was he never became an All Black. "While I will always be disappointed not to have worn the black jersey of my country, I will sleep easy knowing that I gave it a real crack, particularly in my last three seasons playing in New Zealand," Clarke said via a Connacht press release.

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