Ireland and Leinster back-row Jamie Heaslip has announced his retirement from professional rugby.
The 34-year-old has had an injury-plagued 12 months and on Monday announced he would be leaving the sport.
Heaslip won 95 caps for Ireland and won three Heineken Cups with Leinster.
Thanks for everything pic.twitter.com/cZpK78vzXu
— jamie heaslip (@jamieheaslip) February 26, 2018
Heaslip said on a social media post:
Time will get us all, but it’s cornered me earlier than I hoped.
Every professional sportsperson always hopes to be able leave their chosen sport on their terms but too often that’s not the case.
I have had to take on board the medical advice that I have been given and after talking to Sheena and my family, I have taken the difficult decision to retire with immediate effect from playing rugby in order to ensure my future well being.
I’m very proud to finish my career as a one club man having played amongst some of the best in the game, who are all like a family of brothers to me.
My goal when I started my professional career 14 years ago was to leave the jerseys that I wore in a better place and I hope I have done that.
Thank you to the IRFU, Leinster Rugby, all the coaches, medical staff,back room staff, sponsors, media, supporters and most importantly my wife, family , friends and fellow players for helping me to make my dreams come true.
I’ve had the time of my life on and off the rugby pitch but now its time for the next chapter.
Joe Schmidt paid tribute to Heaslip saying:
“Jamie was an intelligent and incredibly robust player. The string of trophies he contributed to is lengthy, including 3 European Cups, 3 Six Nations, including the 2009 Grand Slam and a couple of Pro12 trophies thrown in for good measure.
There are so many moments that spring to mind, whether it be his superb second half against Northampton in the 2011 Heineken Cup final or his clever line and tireless work ethic that combined to see him score the International Try of the Year two years ago, or his crucial try saving tackle on Stuart Hogg on ‘Super Sunday‘, to help tip the balance in retaining the Six Nations trophy. Utterly professional, driven to succeed and a leader with the actions he delivered.”
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 26, 2018