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London Irish forward Mike Coman forced to retire at 31

Championship leaders London Irish have confirmed lock/back row forward Mike Coman has been forced into an early retirement due to a severe hamstring injury.

The 31-year-old New Zealand native made a big impact upon his arrival at the Madejski Stadium in 2016, winning the club’s player of the year award in his first season.

A hamstring injury picked up in the Exiles Anglo-Welsh Cup tie with Cardiff Blues in February 2018 has seen Coman call time on his career with immediate effect.

“I’m gutted that I’m having to retire as I felt that I still had a couple of good years in front of me,” said Coman, who also represented the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and played provincial rugby for Hawke’s Bay.

“That said, I’m lucky enough to have had a good career in rugby and played in some good teams in New Zealand and in the UK and I’d like to thank all of the coaches and players who have helped me along the way.

“I’d particularly like to thank everyone at London Irish for the way they welcomed my wife and myself to the club and for making us feel a part of the family. It really is a fantastic place and one of the most disappointing aspects about having to retire is that I won’t be a part of the journey that the club is now on.

“Brian O’Leary, Nick Hess and the medical team have been brilliant in the way they have worked with me to try and help me overcome the injury, and Declan Kidney has gone out of his way to keep me involved with the squad as much as possible, even though I’ve not been able to contribute on the field.

“Hopefully we can finish off the season with promotion back to the Premiership, and then I can look forward to the next chapter of my life as part of the family business and with the baby my wife and I are expecting in the summer.

“I would like to wish everyone at London Irish all the best for the future and believe that success is just around the corner.”

After 12 months of rehabilitation to the injury, Coman will now return back to New Zealand to work for his family’s construction business.

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney praised the influence Coman had made on the Exiles squad.

“It is a real shame that Mike is having to retire as he has been a brilliant person to have around the squad this season,” Kidney said.

“You can always tell the measure of a man in times of adversity and Mike has been an influential part of the squad despite not playing.

“He’s done everything he could to get over his injury, but unfortunately the severity hasn’t allowed his body to recover to the stage where he could play professional rugby again.”

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