'Utterly professional, driven to succeed and a leader with the actions he delivered'
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has paid a glowing tribute to Jamie Heaslip after he confirmed his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.
The 34-year-old made the decision "in order to ensure my future wellbeing" and hangs up the boots after playing 95 times for his country.
"Jamie was an intelligent and incredibly robust player," said Schmidt.
"The string of trophies he contributed to is lengthy, including three European Cups, three Six Nations, including the 2009 Grand Slam and a couple of Pro12 trophies thrown in for good measure.
Best wishes for the future Jamie. A great player on the field but more importantly a great man off it too.— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) February 26, 2018
Massive congratulations to @jamieheaslip on a wonderful playing career with @leinsterrugby, @IrishRugby and @lionsofficial 👏👏#GUINNESSPRO14 wish you the best of luck with your next move.#ThanksJamie 👉 https://t.co/UREsyQmAbU pic.twitter.com/yhuSvswWBI— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 26, 2018
Sad that Jamie Heaslip couldn't go out on his own terms but what a run he had. Undoubtedly one of Ireland's greats— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) February 26, 2018
"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."
Former Ulster and Ireland star Stephen Ferris added: "Congrats on a special career big man. Memories that will last forever."
Leinster and Ireland player Cian Healy took to Twitter to say: "Hats off to @jamieheaslip, an incredible servant to the game, roommate, friend and brother. The commitment and professionalism he showed throughout his career is something that any player can aspire to. Been one hell of a journey brother, enjoy retired life!#"