Mark Atkinson announces his retirement from professional rugby

Mark Atkinson announces his retirement from professional rugby

Gloucester Rugby centre and fan favourite, Mark Atkinson, has announced his retirement from rugby due to injury.

Atkinson, who has been at the Club for over a decade, suffered a serious knee injury early last season, ruling him out for the 2022/23 campaign.

After a lengthy rehabilitation period, ‘Aki’ began his return to rugby at the start of the 2023/24 season, starting against Hartpury in the Premiership Rugby Cup. He went on to make three Gallagher Premiership appearances before making the difficult decision to retire from the game following medical advice.

Atkinson joined the Cherry & Whites in 2014, after impressing in the Championship for Bedford Blues, and went on to play 168 times over his ten years at Kingsholm.

His performances in Cherry & White led to call ups for the Barbarians and England, for whom he was capped against Tonga in 2021.

Aki was awarded a testimonial year this year for his decade service to Gloucester Rugby.

Whilst the 34-year-old is stepping back from his playing responsibilities, Atkinson will remain with the Club, taking up a role on matchdays and with the commercial team.

“The decision to retire from a sport I love has been a very difficult one. I felt optimistic at the start of the season that I was in a good place with my knee, but it became apparent quite quickly that a full recovery wasn’t on the cards.

“Like many players who make this decision, my priority is my family and being able to run around with my young daughter, Sydney. Following medical advice, continuing my playing career had the potential to impact that and so for that reason it was, in the end, straight forward.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my teammates who I’ve played with over my 10 years at Kingsholm. I’ve had many highs and some pretty low lows during that time and my teammates have been there for all of it. I’m very grateful to them.

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