THE sporting community has rallied around Gloucester Rugby player Ed Slater after it was revealed he has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

The 33-year-old second-row has been having tests for the last six-months and today it was confirmed, along with his immediate retirement from the game.

Slater joined Gloucester in 2017 after a highly successful seven years at Leicester Tigers, captaining the club and winning the Premiership in 2013.

His club form saw Slater selected to play for England Saxons and in 2014 he toured with England to New Zealand, captaining his country in midweek against the Canterbury Crusaders.

Slater has cemented himself as one of the best second row's in the league and only injuries have prevented a potential glittering international career.

A statement from Gloucester's official website read: "Gloucester Rugby is deeply pained to announce that Ed Slater has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND),"

"Following six months of testing, Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week and as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester Rugby, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.

"Everyone at Gloucester Rugby - players, management and staff - are entirely committed to supporting Ed, his wife Jo and his three children in whatever way required. We know the same will be true of Gloucester and Leicester fans, and the wider rugby community.

"While Ed, his family and the Club take time to determine next steps, Gloucester Rugby have opened a JustGiving page. The direction of these funds will be determined in due course, whether it be supporting Ed and his family directly and/or a selected MND charity."

For anyone that wishes to donate any money towards Ed and his family, please follow this link