Paul O’Connell has announced his retirement from rugby.
O’Connell last appeared for Ireland during last year’s Rugby World Cup win against France, when he was forced off with a hamstring injury.
The talismanic lock had left his native province Munster to join European champions RC Toulon, however a failure to return to full fitness means he will not appear for the French club.
O’Connell anounced his retirement in a statement released by the IRFU. “It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from professional rugby following medical advice. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Rugby Club Toulonnais for their understanding and support over the past few months.
“Since sustaining the injury at the World Cup I have been fully focused on returning to fitness and starting an exciting new chapter for both myself and my family in Toulon. Unfortunately this will no longer be possible.
“I have been blessed to be a professional rugby player for over 14 years and to be part of Munster and Ireland teams that have experienced success. I have played with some of the best players to ever line out in the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and have had the privilege of captaining my country.
“I would like to thank those at Young Munster RFC, Munster Rugby, the IRFU and Lions Rugby who have supported me over the course of my playing career.
“Special thanks must go to my wife Emily for her unwavering support through the good and the bad and to my parents Michael and Shelagh.
“Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has supported the teams I have been a part of. The support you have shown me is humbling and an immense source of pride for both myself and my family."