McGrath: Retiring Ross will leave Leinster in a better place
Jack McGrath has hailed the legacy that his Leinster team-mate Mike Ross will leave behind when he retires at the end of the season.
A late bloomer, Ross will call time on a hugely successful career that saw him win two Six Nations, two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and two Guinness PRO12 titles with Leinster.
A serious hamstring injury earlier this season hampered his progress in what proved to be his final campaign in professional rugby but the 37-year-old has had a huge influence on the younger props, according to McGrath.
The Cork native began his career at Munster but it was in the Premiership with Harlequins that Ross really forged his reputation before moving back to Ireland and becoming a cornerstone at tighthead for both club and country.
Ross won 61 international caps and played at two World Cups. Only John Hayes has started more games at prop for Ireland.
"It's a sad day. Rossy is a good pal of mine, and he's been there since I've been in Leinster," McGrath said.
"It's a tough one. He's a great character around the group. He's great for the young lads, because I know for a fact that Tadhg (Furlong) has learned a lot from him.
"He's always earwigging with him. I've learned a lot from him, even scrummaging against him. I suppose everyone has to hang up their boots at some stage, but he's been a great stalwart for club and country.
"To come where he came from, I think he started professional rugby at 27, and get to here. Sixty-one caps for Ireland, and plenty of medals for club and country. It's a testament to the man. It's a sad day to see him go, but he's left the club in a better place."
Johnny Sexton echoed McGrath's sentiments saying: "I don't think we would have won the trophies we have without him. He's done a great job with the young guys coming through."