Monday 22 October 2018

'There's a standard here at Leinster. I'm not making that now, so it's time for me to bow out'

Isa Nacewa of Leinster with his daughter Laura following the Guinness PRO14 Final between Leinster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin
Isa Nacewa of Leinster with his daughter Laura following the Guinness PRO14 Final between Leinster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Sam Roberts

The retiring Isa Nacewa said his final game in a blue jersey did not go the way he envisaged, but acknowledged that it was "time to bow out" after an illustrious playing career.

Nacewa's last game before retirement ended prematurely after he was forced off with injury less than 20 minutes in to Leinster's 40-32 victory over the Scarlets.

Leinster's second half blitz saw them score two tries in ten minutes to see off the challenge a determined Scarlets side and complete the European Cup and league title double.

Two late tries from the Welsh side added some gloss to the scoreline, but in truth it made the tie look closer than it was as Leinster looked dominant for large periods.

New Zealand-born Nacewa was playing his last game with Leinster after 10 years with the club, and was understandably disappointed not to have played longer on his final appearance.

"I blew my calf quite early," Nacewa said. "Not the way I envisaged, I think I sat here yesterday and said I'd last far more than 40 minutes. I don't think I got to 20."

Nacewa, who had retired once before in 2013 only to return two years later, explained that he came back to win more silverware, and ruled out any chance of him making another surprise return.

"I said I wanted to come back and win trophies and coming back with Johnny at the same time, from his little time away.

"There's a standard here at Leinster you have to live up to every day and you can't hide from that. I'm not making that now, so it's time for me to bow out."

"Talking to Drico [Brian O'Driscoll] during the week, we were chatting about how at some stage, physically, you know you can't keep going. At times, mentally, you might get to a point where you think 'enough is enough'.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen, who won three European Cups with Nacewa in his playing career, also paid tribute to the 35-year-old.

"Seeing this guy beside me lift the trophy at the end is probably the thing that gives me the most satisfaction.

"He stepped up to kick the penalties two weeks ago, but to see him lift the trophy again there today, nobody deserves it more, nobody deserves it more. I am delighted for him."

Online Editors

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