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Johnson's tribute to retiring scrum half Ellis

08 July 2010

  • Popular scrum half Harry Ellis forced to quit game at age of 28
  • Harry gave everything – Martin Johnson
England's Harry Ellis in RBS 6 Nations action in 2009

Photo: Getty Images

England team manager Martin Johnson has paid tribute to scrum half Harry Ellis, who has has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of 28.

Ellis won 27 caps for England, scoring five tries, and made his last appearance against Scotland in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations.

"I was sorry to hear the news about Harry having to retire from the game because of injury," said Johnson.

"Harry has been an excellent player who always gave everything for Leicester Tigers and England.

"From the first time he was involved it was obvious to everyone in the Tigers squad that he was a special talent and that he’d make a big impact for Leicester and England.

"I’m sure that if he’d been fit Harry would have continued to make a huge contribution to his club and country for many years to come and on behalf of the England squad I’d like to wish Harry all the best for the future."

A product of the South Leicester and Wigston clubs, Ellis made 173 first-team appearances for Leicester Tigers. He graduated from the Tigers Academy ranks and announced his arrival in senior rugby with a semi-final try against Llanelli in 2002 which helped to ensure the club’s appearance in a second successive Heineken Cup Final.

His tally of 29 tries for the club also included a score at Twickenham in the 2008 Guinness Premiership Final.

I've loved every minute of my career – Ellis

After being capped by England at every level from Under-16 to Under-21, ‘A’ and Sevens, Harry made his senior international debut against South Africa in 2004 and appeared in every game of the RBS 6 Nations campaigns in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, gaining 27 senior caps.

He also gained selection for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in the summer of 2009, playing in the third Test.

Ellis said: "The most difficult decision for any player to make is about when they have to stop playing. But, after taking medical advice, unfortunately I have to announce my retirement.

"I’ve loved every minute of my rugby career with Leicester Tigers, England and the British & Irish Lions.

"I would like to thank the club and medical staff for their help in my time at Leicester and thank all of my colleagues and the fans who have given me such great support.

"This is not the way I wanted to end my career because I have always taken great enjoyment from the game of rugby and I have some very special memories. But now I will have to consider other options for the future and take on a new challenge."