Injury forces Blaze to retire
Leicester forward Richard Blaze has been forced to retire from professional rugby at the age of 25 because of injury.
Former England Saxons lock Blaze, who joined Tigers from Worcester in 2007, has admitted defeat in his battle to overcome a stress fracture of the foot.
He first suffered the injury in 2008, and was then hit by a recurrence last year. His final Leicester appearance came against London Irish 12 months ago.
"I've worked hard to come back from the injury," said Blaze, an England Under-19 and U-21 international. "But in the end, I've been advised that the stress fracture is not going to stand up to the demands of a full-time career and reluctantly announced my retirement.
"It's obviously a disappointing moment when you get to the stage where you have to say you cannot play again.
"I've enjoyed my rugby through schools and age-groups, then into the professional game, and I was really looking to push on when I came to Leicester in 2007. But now I will have to move on and make decisions about my future."
Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill added: "It's extremely disappointing when a young player has to retire prematurely.
"We signed Richard because he was a young player we could see developing well within our environment, and he made a good impression here on and off the field.
"It is a great pity that injuries stood in his way, and we all feel for him now that he is unable to continue.
"He is a big loss to Leicester Tigers, and also to England, as he has been brought through the international ranks from the age-groups to the verge of the senior squad."