Statement: Exeter Chiefs forward retires with immediate effect aged 27 - Ruck

Statement: Exeter Chiefs forward retires with immediate effect aged 27

Exeter Chiefs lock Matt Postlethwaite has been forced to retire from rugby on medical grounds.

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The Yorkshireman has had an injury-plagued tenure at Sandy Park and despite a lengthy rehab process, having sought medical advice, he has been forced to retire.

The 27-year-old arrived as a new member of the Chiefs squad ahead of the 2023/24 season. Since then he has made three Chiefs appearances, scoring one try.

Joining Ilkley Rugby Club at just five years old, Postlethwaite developed into a promising young player who earned a place in the Yorkshire Carnegie Academy.

From there, the forward progressed into earning a contract with Premiership side Sale Sharks. Arriving at Carrington Lane ahead of the 2015/16 season, Postlethwaite spent his time on dual registration with National One side, Sale FC.

Try Celebrations for Matt Postlethwaite of Exeter Chiefs as he goes over for a try during the Friendly match between Exeter Chiefs and Royal Navy Rugby at Sandy Park on 6 Mar 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

While being forced to retire due to injury was not how Postlethwaite predicted the end of his rugby career, he is now focused on a new journey away from the sport.

“It’s been a tough period of time for me, getting injured and then trying to com back following my operation. This is not how I would have wanted my time in the sport to come to an end, but I’ve loved every minute of my time at Exeter Chiefs.

“This club has a very special group of lads and I feel proud and privileged to have been a part of the team this year.

“I’d like to sincerely thank Rob Baxter and all the Chiefs staff for giving me the opportunity to have played for such a great club. The help they have also given me off the field has been invaluable.

“I’ve enjoyed my time in Devon so much that I plan to remain here with my family. I must thank them, especially my wife Kate, for the endless support they have given me throughout my career.

“I can’t wait to see what the club can go on to achieve, and I wish all of the boys the very best for the future.”

The club would like to thank Matt for his time as an Exeter Chief and wish him well for everything that lies ahead.

Five biggest shocks from Borthwick’s latest squad – Zach Mercer left out again

There were a number of high-profile absentees as Steve Borthwick named a 19-player training squad to begin preparations for the forthcoming Summer Series against Japan and New Zealand.

The squad will assemble at Pennyhill Park on Monday 27 May for a four-day training camp.

England’s Summer Series begins on Saturday 22 June with a Test match against Japan in Tokyo before embarking on a two-Test tour of New Zealand in July.

England training squad (19 players)


Fin Baxter (Harlequins)

Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins)

Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)

Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs)

Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)

George Martin (Leicester Tigers)

Gabriel Oghre (Bristol Bears)

Guy Pepper (Newcastle Falcons)

Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs)

Rusi Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)


Charlie Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby)

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs)

Max Malins (Bristol Bears)

Luke Northmore (Harlequins)  

Harry Randall (Bristol Bears) 

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)

High-profile absentees:

#1.Joe Launchbury (Harlequins)

There have been rumours that the veteran might have done enough to earn a recall. Although he missed the last few games due to a calf injury, there’s still a good chance he could join the squad as the final announcement approaches.

Joe Launchbury of Harlequins during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher)

#2. Zach Mercer (Gloucester)

There was a lot of buzz this week about Mercer possibly returning to the international team. However, yet another squad was announced without him being recalled. The sidelined number 8 must be questioning what more he needs to do to earn a spot on the team.

Zach Mercer of Gloucester Rugby during the Challenge Cup Final Match between Gloucester Rugby and Hollywoodbets Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 24 May 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK