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Connacht and former Leinster academy lock Ben Marshall has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 26 following a concussion injury that ultimately ended is career.

The Ireland U-20 forward was only awarded a new contract with Pam Lam’s side in March but now, on the back of medical advice, Marshall has decided the next chapter of his life will not involve competitive rugby for the Pro 12 champions.

In a statement released on the Connacht Rugby website, Marshall says,

“Unfortunately, my time as a player has come to an end earlier than I would have wished.

“It has been a difficult time not being able to play since the injury but having had some time away from the game, I can appreciate how fortunate I’ve also been in my career.”

“Special thanks have to be extended to my teammates and friends, from schoolboy through to professional level. We have shared many highlights that I will carry with me for years to come, and it is the quiet camaraderie of the dressing room that I will miss the most.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Connacht head physio Garrett Coughlan and the medical team who have given me wonderful care and support over the past eleven months.

“I am looking forward to continuing in my financial studies and the new career path that is ahead of me, but I will always be appreciative of the lessons that Willie (Ruane) and Pat (Lam) taught me during my time at Connacht Rugby.”

Connacht rugby issued this classy message via their Twitter account following the announcement.

It’s been a difficult few months in Galway for the western province. Following a Pro 12 winning season last term, this term was always going to be difficult. The announcement of head coach Pat Lam’s departure for Bristol at the end of the season leaves Connacht on the precipice. Marshall’s announcement is adding injury to insult.

For the young forward it is a sad end to a exciting and promising career. Connacht and Ireland fans will, no doubt, wish him all the best for the future.

Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena

On this week’s edition of the Oval Office, we discuss Ireland’s selection policy for overseas players, the England captaincy and more…

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