Aviva Premiership
Exeter's cup final hero forced to retire
ESPN Staff
March 25, 2014
Chris Whitehead made 76 appearances for the Chiefs © PA Photos

Exeter have been dealt a blow with the news hooker Chris Whitehead has been forced to retire.

Whitehead, 27, has been suffering from a degenerative neck injury and after consulting specialists, he has been advised to retire. Whitehead's last game will be the club's LV= Cup final win over Northampton, where he scored one of the team's two tries.

Chiefs coach Rob Baxter paid tribute to Whitehead, saying: "It wasn't something that was a complete shock because we've been aware he's had an on-going neck problem. At times it's needed rest, at times it's needed rehab. He's had an operation and work on his neck over the time he's been at Exeter, on different neck issues, but it got to the stage that he finally had some advice that for his long-term health he was better finishing.

"It's very disappointing for Chrissy, that's the most important thing. He's a professional rugby player and he loves playing rugby and the hardest thing is on him. However, if there was ever a time to bow out playing for Exeter it is after we have won our first top-flight trophy. To be part of it as well, and play so well in the semi-final and final - he could easily have been man of the match in the final - is fantastic."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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