Thompson returns: Rugby's greatest comebacks

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Steve Thompson's inclusion in the England side to face Australia this weekend completes a remarkable comeback.

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The World Cup winner saw his career come to a screeching halt in April 2007 after he injured his neck playing for Northampton against Biarritz in the Heineken Cup. He was told he could never play again.

Yet he couldn't shake the itch to play and returned to the pitch for Brive at the end of 2007 and has now seen his comeback capped by a return to the England fold.

Despite his undoubted bravery and commitment, Thompson is not alone in fighting back from the brink of a career-ending injury.

Some of the biggest names in the game have battled through the pain barrier to resume their careers after staring premature retirement in the face.