Neck condition forces Exeter's Chris Whitehead to quit

It is only 10 days since Chris Whitehead helped drive Exeter towards a first major title in their 143-year history, scoring a try in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final victory over Northampton in front of a capacity crowd at Sandy Park. Now, his career is over at the depressingly young age of 27. The hooker has retired on medical advice, after a long struggle with a degenerative neck condition.

"I had surgery on my neck last year and there comes a time when you have to put your health first and foremost," said the Derby-born forward. "When top specialists are telling you the kind of stuff they've been telling me, you have to listen."