Mark Lambert: Harlequins loose-head prop and players’ union chairman retires

Mark Lambert: Harlequins loose-head prop and players' union chairman retires

Mark Lambert has been chairman of the Rugby Players Association since 2017

Harlequins prop Mark Lambert has confirmed his retirement after 16 seasons with the Premiership club.

The 35-year-old will continue to have a role in the game in his post as Rugby Players Association chairman.

One-club man Lambert scored six tries in his 251 appearances for the south-west London side after a career-threatening head injury in 2005.

He was capped by England at Under-19, Under-21 and Saxons level, but did not appear for the senior side.

Lambert is the third Quins player to retire this month, following hookers Rob Buchanan and Max Crumpton.

He only played seven first team games in his first five years as a professional, after leaving the Quins academy because of injuries.

Lambert spent almost a year out of the game from March 2005 after suffering a dissected anterior cerebral artery in his brain.

The Londoner was then sidelined for a further two seasons when he fractured his kneecap representing England Under-21s, and suffered a repeat of the injury on his comeback.

Playing on ‘borrowed time’

“I have been on borrowed time in the game since I was 20,” he said. “And I have made it to 35.

“What facing retirement at a young age gave me was an appreciation that this had to end one day.

“As a result, I have done my best to make the most of the experiences that have come my way.

“I played my first game in a Quins shirt in 2002. I’ve had a picture of that moment on my wall for years.

“I have never been more nervous in my life than I was before my starting debut against Gloucester in 2004.

“And I have never felt worse in my life than the day I was told my career was over in 2005.”

Lambert’s first season with Quins ended in relegation and he missed most of their promotion campaign back to the top flight in 2005-06.

He did, though, help the club win silverware three times, the Challenge Cup in 2011, the Premiership in 2012 and the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2013.

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