Bedford Blues flanker Joe Atkinson to retire at end of 2021/22 season

Joe Atkinson joined Bedford Blues in 2019
Joe Atkinson joined Bedford Blues in 2019

Bedford Blues flanker Joe Atkinson has announced his decision to retire from professional rugby at the end of the ongoing 2021/22 season.

Atkinson joined Blues from Premiership club Wasps in 2019 and has gone on to make 51 appearances for them scoring five tries. He also has played 150 games in the second tier competition.

“I have absolutely loved my three seasons at the club. The culture that Mike has nurtured over the years has made the training and playing environment unrivalled in the Championship," he told the club's official website.

“The thing I’m going to miss the most is that when you go to ‘work’, you’re playing the game you love with a bunch of your mates. On the pitch, there has never been a dull moment and I’ve really enjoyed playing the high tempo and expansive Bedford style of play.

“A huge thank you to the supporters who are second to none. I am going to miss the roar of a packed Goldington Road. Bring on the remainder of the cup!”

Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer lavished praise on Atkinson and wished him good luck on his future endeavours.

“Atko has been a great person to work with in the last three years, setting really high standards ever since he joined the club and probably since Christmas, has played his best rugby.

“His leadership really shone through when he first arrived and now more recently, he has stepped up to lead the team and shown his worth in that regard as well.

“It’s a massive shame that he will be leaving us, but I fully understand his situation and wish him well with his future endeavours. He’s going to be missed.”