Monday 15 July 2019

Six Nations winner Henry retires for the sake of 'physical well-being'

Chris Henry is tackled by Martin Landajo of Argentina during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final. Photo: Sportsfile
Chris Henry is tackled by Martin Landajo of Argentina during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Just over three years after he made his final appearance for Ireland in the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina, Chris Henry has announced his decision to retire from rugby.

The Ulster flanker, who was a mainstay in the Irish back-row for the 2014 Six Nations Championship win and featured heavily in the 2015 World Cup campaign, released an open letter yesterday in which he attributed his decision to hang up his boots to "his physical well-being".

Henry made his debut for Ulster in 2009 and was capped internationally a year later and went on to play 24 times for his country and 184 times for his province.

"After a great deal of thought and in-depth discussions with family and friends, I believe that now is the right time to retire from the game I love," he said.

"No matter how much I would love to finish the season with this talented group, my career has taken its toll physically, and so for the well-being of myself, my loving wife and my family, I will be retiring immediately.

"It's impossible to thank everyone who has contributed to my career in this short letter, but allow me to make a start.

Proud

"I am incredibly proud to be a one-club man, and I want to thank Ulster for giving me the chance to achieve my dream. The honour of putting on the white and green jerseys is something I will always cherish. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have travelled all around the world doing what I love.

"Like any rugby career, there have been setbacks and knocks, however the incredible highs will forever outweigh the lows. Thank you to all the coaches, players, physiotherapists, doctors, back-room staff and fans that kept the faith in me.

"The heart and soul of rugby is teamwork, and I have had some incredible team-mates over the years.

"To have lost Nevin Spence at such a young age had a huge impact on me and so many others.

"He was a source of inspiration and I have always tried to do the club proud as he did. Ulster and Irish Rugby will always remember his legacy.

"It has been a privilege to witness the new generation of young Ulster players come through the ranks with bucket-loads of talent and an incredible work ethic. I truly believe success is not far away."

Ulster operations director Bryn Cunningham paid tribute to the 34-year-old.

"Chris has been a fantastic ambassador for Ulster Rugby and represents all of what we stand for as an organisation," he said.

"As a proud Ulster man, not only has Chris given everything for the shirt, but he has also added real value to the local community."

Irish Independent

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