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Too Much Too Young: Nine rugby players who peaked too early

Which rugby players were top-class talents in their youth but spent their twilight years struggling to maintain their legacy?

1. Matthew Tait

Despite becoming an England international aged 19 and being a World Cup finalist in 2007, Tait’s test career came to a conclusion in 2010 after 34 caps. Still only 24 at the time, another injury ruled him out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He has since become a mainstay of the Leicester Tigers backline but has never really come close to earning an England recall.

2. Gavin Henson

The man who tackled Tait. Despite two Six Nations winner’s medals, Henson falls firmly into the category of those that failed to fulfill their potential. But despite his love for hobnobbing with C-list celebrities, appearing on reality TV shows and bottled tan, all of which seemed to take precedence over his rugby, Henson actually didn’t have that bad a career. Now struggling for gametime at the Dragons, it could have been so much better!

3. Andy Long

Sir Clive Woodward was appointed England coach in 1997 and picked the 20-year-old prop on potential for his first match in charge against Australia. However, Long played poorly and only won one further cap for his country.

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