Monday 21 January 2019

Leinster's Isa Nacewa and Richardt Strauss to retire at the end of the season

Isa Nacewa and (inset) Richardt Strauss
Isa Nacewa and (inset) Richardt Strauss
Isa Nacewa of Leinster will retire at the end of the season

Des Berry

Isa Nacewa will retire from Leinster for the second and final time at the end of this season.

The best overseas signing in Irish rugby brought about a change in culture in his first stint at the province from 2008 to 2013.

Richardt Strauss will also hang up the boots, boss Leo Cullen has confirmed.

Nacewa left with three Heineken Cup medals and the promise not to play for another club anywhere, even in New Zealand, because of the bond he had forged at Leinster.

Despite more than one request from his Auckland Blues, Nacewa, then employed as a mental skills coach, was true to his word.  

Then, he was convinced come out of retirement in 2015 and return at a time when Leinster was crying out for leadership, especially during the international windows.  

The once-capped Fijian international has amassed 700 points from 182 caps in his eight seasons at Leinster.

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Above all other players, domestic and foreign, he has been the catalyst for Leinster rise to European superpower.

It was at his suggestion that Leinster eventually employed Joe Schmidt out of Clermont-Auvergne in what was the biggest coaching coup for Leinster and Irish rugby.

All that is left is for Leinster to repay the debt of gratitude with one, or maybe even two, more medals to add to those which he has already. 

"It is hard to articulate the impact that both Isa and Richardt have had on this club since their arrival," said Cullen.

"Warriors on the pitch and wonderful men off it, they are, in my opinion, two of the best players to have ever worn the blue jersey. Their impact on this group of players will be felt for years to come.

"We will also say goodbye this evening to Peadar and Cathal who have come through the Leinster pathway and are two great examples of that route and the success that can be had if you apply yourself in the right way. I wish them all the very best of luck in their future endeavours."

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