Italy international Jake Polledri announces retirement at 28

Jake Polledri played 20 times for Italy
Jake Polledri played 20 times for Italy

Italy and Zebre back row Jake Polledri has announced his decision to quit professional rugby with immediate effect at the age of 28 after failing to make sufficient recovery from injury.

Having started his career with Hartpury University, Polledri quickly made an impression when he joined Gloucester in 2017. He went on to win the club's Young Player of the Season Award in the 2017/18 season and the Player of the Season for the 2019/20 season.

However, injuries continued to hamper his career as he initially sustained a knee injury that kept him out of action for almost 18 months followed by a foot injury forcing him to end his playing career.

Following his stint with Gloucester, Polledri joined Zebre this season but could not continue because of the foot injury.

He made his Italy debut in 2018 and was part of the squad that featured in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. He has 20 Test caps to his name.

“From Rugby Tots to a Rugby World Cup, over the past 20+ years rugby has been my life. It has opened my eyes to many countries, formed great friendships and kept my brain in gear when times have been tough," he posted on his Instagram account.

“Some of my best memories have been made in the Azzurri Jersey. For that, I am so thankful to the Italy for believing in me and supporting my rugby.

“Playing International Rugby was a wild childhood dream that lived up to every expectation. From Summer Tours, to Six Nations and breaking Records in the Japan 2019 RWC.

“My return to the pitch from my catastrophic knee injury in 2020 was tough. A lot of people wrote me off immediately, which didn’t deter me. From complete paralysis in my foot to 677 days later being able to run out at Gloucester Kingsholm again. The support from the Kingsholm fans was immense and is cherished.

“Thank you to Gloucester for all the years of support, I could not have recovered this far without the incredible team of physios and S&C. Enabling me to uphold my promise to my late brother Sam, that I was to return to the pitch.

“My foot however hasn’t returned back to 100% and ultimately it has affected my ability to return to the high level of rugby I played, and it has also affected life generally. I have reluctantly accepted that my body and professionals are telling me retire from the sport that I love.

“Thank you to Zebre for giving me a shot to get back to the field. To which we achieved after a few shoulder surgeries. The medical team and S&C at Zebre have been amazing without them I wouldn’t have been able to hold my son Oakley on the pitch. This was an unforgettable experience. My time in Italy although short has been amazing and I have met some great people."


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