Luke Fitzgerald retires from rugby due to injury at the age of 28
Ireland international Luke Fitzgerald has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect at the age of 28.
Leinster confirmed the news on their official website, stating that he had been advised to retire on medical grounds after suffering a neck injury in the Guinness PRO12 final against Connacht last month.
The wing, centre or full-back won 34 Ireland caps and toured South Africa with the 2009 British and Irish Lions.
Fitzgerald made his Leinster debut in 2006 and went on to make more than 150 appearances for them, scoring 32 tries.
He helped the Dublin-based outfit win the Heineken Cup three times and land three PRO12 titles.
He first featured for Ireland almost 10 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father Des, who also won 34 caps, but Fitzgerald's career was also affected by various injury setbacks.
Sorry to see Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald forced to retire at 28.— Ben Coles (@bencoles_) June 28, 2016
Luke Fitzgerald calling it a day, disappointing news. #PotentialUnfulfilled— Darragh O' Shea (@darragh10oshea) June 28, 2016
Such a shame that Luke Fitzgerald has had to retire. Massively talented player, who would've achieved much more, barring injury— John M O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) June 28, 2016
Sad to read about Luke Fitzgerald having to retire due to injury. Quality player always exciting to watch.— Jon Ingarfield (@JonIngarfield) June 28, 2016
Shocked over Luke Fitzgerald retiring from professional rugby, poor guy had fight in him yet— Lorraine (@Dragon_Turd) June 28, 2016
His final Test match appearance came in Ireland's World Cup quarter-final defeat against Argentina last October, when he scored a try.
"I've had a wonderful rugby career, which makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage of my life," Fitzgerald told www.leinsterrugby.ie.
"It's been an amazing journey in which I got to experience the highs and lows that come with professional sport, and I have learned a huge amount from each experience. I'm now building on that foundation through completing my business degree.
"I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had, the people with whom I've worked and the lifelong friends I have made.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the medical staff and coaches I've worked with throughout my career, and at Blackrock College.
"It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my province, my country and the British and Irish Lions during my career, and I'm glad to finish my career as a 'one club man'.
"The support I got while playing for all three teams during the good times and the tough times is something I will cherish and never forget for the rest of my life."