Mike Ross issues poignant statement as he confirms he will retire from rugby
Ireland international prop Mike Ross has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of this season.
The 37-year-old Leinster forward won 61 caps, making his Test debut in 2009, and was part of two Six Nations title-winning squads.
Ross also represented his country at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and made his final international appearance against South Africa last summer.
He joined Leinster from Harlequins eight years ago, helping the Irish province win two European Cups, the European Challenge Cup and two PRO12 titles.
"Rugby has been a huge part of my life, and I've been incredibly lucky to have been a part of some amazing teams," Ross told Leinster's official website.
"In particular, I will never forget winning the European Cup in 2011 or the Six Nations Championship in 2014.
I never dreamt, having had such a late start in the professional game, that I would go on to achieve such goals, or win 61 caps for Ireland. I am indebted to my team-mates and coaches, my friends and family."
Paying tribute to Ross, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen added: "Mike has played such a major role in Leinster's successes since he joined from Harlequins in 2009.
"He was at the very heart of Leinster's famous comeback against Northampton in the 2011 European Cup Final with a brilliant second-half scrummaging display that helped turn the tide of momentum.
"And the following season he played a huge role once again as the Leinster scrum pushed (European Cup final opponents) Ulster off their own ball in the first-half that led to a try.
"Mike has also been a great mentor to some of our younger props, always being prepared to pass on his experience to ensure their continued development."