England Scrum-Half Faced With Forced Retirement 

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Rugby is a physically demanding game; it is not uncommon for players to face months on the sidelines with career-threatening injuries. For example, the likes of Joe Cokanasiga, having faced months of rehabilitation since the 2019 world cup.

More recently, Abby Dow broke her leg in last weekend’s international vs. Wales, which could cause her to miss out on October’s world cup. 

Sometimes these career-threatening injuries become just that. In England, scrum-halves, you only have to look as far back as talented number 9 Harry Ellis. The 27 caps international was forced to retire at the young age of 28 following several knee injuries. 

Current women’s scrum-half Claudia MacDonald has now had to deal with such a prospect. During last year’s autumn internationals, the 26-year-old Red Roses’ player sustained a nasty neck injury during a lineout, keeping her out of action.

Despite being repeatedly informed that she would be ‘back in action in a few weeks, MacDonald now faces the possibility of early retirement due to an acute prolapsed disc and another bulging disc. These injuries have an expectancy of 12-18 months to heal, if at all. 

She said to BBC Sport: “Some days it knocks you for six. Some days I’m desperately upset about it; some days, I’m angry, some days, I’m in denial and still think I can play, and my neck is excellent, especially when I’m running around in training. 

“Other days, I can get excited and look forward to whatever might be next. It’s all over the place.” 

MacDonald was offered two surgeries on the injury but chose not to have either of them as the second would have certainly caused an immediate end to her rugby career. Choosing not to have the surgeries has meant that MacDonald has to wait for her injuries to heal. As a result, they are causing her to lose out on her England contract, as they are designed for players looking to make it to the world cup.

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