Dan Tuohy caused quite a stir back in February when he announced his enforced retirement with a brutally honest statement, which offered a withering assessment of what he believed to be the ugly side of rugby.
n doing so, Tuohy shone a light on areas of the game, which most players choose to ignore. Four months on, Tuohy stands by his claim that rugby is "rotten from the core."
The 11-times capped Ireland lock saw it all throughout his 13-year career, and while he acknowledges that it is easier to be outspoken now that he has hung up his boots, Tuohy is eager to use his platform to ensure that people realise that the life of a professional rugby player is not always that glamorous.
Tuohy is walking proof of the sacrifices many make, as he is still hindered by the nerve-damage in his wrist, caused by a horrific injury late last year, which ended his career.
Thankfully, he has regained some control in his wrist, but his fingers are not working fully, meaning his hand is only operating at 80 per cent.
As much as he enjoyed his career, it wasn't worth that kind of damage. Tuohy hopes to recover in time, yet he has concerns given that he is about to start a new chapter of his life with his wife Keely, and the couple's two kids, Jaxon and Isabelle.
Since releasing the statement, the 34-year-old has received plenty of positive feedback from fellow professionals, many of whom admitted that they didn't have it within them to speak out.
It all comes back to one of the most frustrating aspects of Tuohy's time as a player - essentially being managed by PR people for fear of actually being honest about a sensitive topic.
"You have done a million different interviews with a million different players," Tuohy begins.
"They all say the same stuff, just regurgitated and spun around to sound a bit different.
"Having played with Ulster and in England, coming over to France, you can just say what you want to say. There is no sponsor, or person within the branch, or media person, who I have to keep happy.
"When I wrote the statement, I didn't have to worry about a backlash or p***ing someone off. I felt like it was a weight off my shoulders.
"I think it is a problem. It's such a competitive environment in Ireland. Contracts and playing squads are getting squeezed constantly.
"If there is a fifty-fifty call and you are the one who is outspoken, potentially things could go against you.
"There is such a conservative approach, in terms of what players are told to say, depending on what narrative they want to get across.
"It's a fine tightrope. I remember doing interviews saying, 'Yeah, we are looking forward to playing this week, they're good away from home . . . blah blah blah.' It's just the same s**t.
"When really you should be saying 'Listen, the Dragons or Zebre are coming to Ravenhill, we should be smashing them by 40 points. We have got serious problems if we don't.'
"You are quickly labelled as arrogant or dismissive. It's easier to play that straight bat."
Tuohy was plagued by injuries throughout the latter part of his career, so much so that he counts himself lucky to have made it to 34 before the decision was taken out of his hands.
He recalls shattering his ankle during an Ulster game in 2015, which almost finished him, and although he worked tirelessly to recover, he never got the send-off he craved.
Instead, Tuohy's final action of a seven-year stay in Belfast was playing football behind Ravenhill when one of their games was called off.
"There used to be bitterness towards Ulster, it took me years to get over that," he admits.
"I always felt like I was battling against something there - and that I didn't get the recognition, or that I wasn't spoken about or remembered.
"After a number of injuries, it broke me to the point where I didn't feel that I resembled the player I once was. You have to mentally and physically build yourself back up again. It leaves a lot of mental scars. The day you retire, and a lot of people will reaffirm this, you become a nobody. People don't realise what that's like."
Tuohy's ill-feeling towards Ulster stemmed from the club's contract dealings with him over the years.
All the while he was in the Ireland squad, it was plain sailing, but as soon as he was outside the international frame, it was a different story, as he explains:
"When I started to get involvement with the Irish team, Ulster started approaching me even earlier about signing a new contract. That had never happened before.
"That ended up happening two or three times, it felt great. I felt an enormous amount of security but towards the end of my time with Ulster, they weren't ringing me early.
"My last contract was a three-year deal. I left after 18 months. They hadn't rang me. They hadn't been in contact with my agent. It really became a rocky ride."
Tuohy accepts that he could have done more at various stages of his career. Looking back on it now, he believes he made mistakes.
"I know I didn't go 100 per cent at rugby and that will rankle with me," he says.
"If I had my time over again, I would give myself a slap and say, 'You need to spend more time in front of the computer. You need to look after yourself more, in terms of food and drinking and going out with the boys.'
"I was trying to balance being a lad when I should have been more of an example professionally.
"Rugby is such a perception game. There were so many players who gave off the perception that they were trying hard or wanted it more, but they were nowhere near as talented as other players.
"They went on to achieve things that they should never have achieved, just through perception and almost fooling coaches into believing that they were better than other people."
Even though rugby has provided him with a huge amount of stress, both mentally and physically, Tuohy hopes to remain in the game.
He is still living in Vannes, where he had been playing with the French club for the last two years.
When he looks at the goings-on closer to home, particularly in the English Championship, the Bristol native has major concerns about the direction rugby is heading.
"Rugby is a murky world for a lot of players, people need to know what they are getting into," Tuohy adds.
"The pay is danger money, to a certain extent. You get paid to entertain, but I think you get paid because of the dangerous nature of the sport.
"Rugby is a serious, serious sport. When I watch it now, I think to myself, 'Christ, I can't believe I did that for the guts of 15 years.'
"I think rugby is being run poorly. I think there are only a number of clubs in the UK and Ireland that are run with any sort of code of ethics, or any attempt to balance the books.
"Rugby is being run into the ground because it is being squeezed for every single penny of what it is worth. It is leaving a lot of people behind.
"There is not a hope in hell that I would ever let my son play for £10,000 a year, with literally zero medical cover, and be expected to be training and playing like a fully professional athlete.
"I've played in Ireland, England and France. I have come across so many players at different stages of their career. I have seen everything. Rugby is a tough life for a lot of people."
TOMORROW: In the final part of our series, former Leinster back row Kevin McLaughlin recalls the scary effects of concussion following his retirement