Luke Fitzgerald retires from rugby with immediate effect

‘I’ve had a wonderful rugby career, makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage’

Luke Fitzgerald has won three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three Pro12 titles with Leinster. Photograph: Morgan Treacy

Luke Fitzgerald has won three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three Pro12 titles with Leinster. Photograph: Morgan Treacy

 

Leinster have this morning confirmed that Luke Fitzgerald has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.

As a result of an incident in the Guinness Pro12 Final against Connacht, the 28 year old Leinster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions back suffered a neck injury and has been advised to retire on medical grounds.

Reflecting on the decision Fitzgerald said, “I’ve had a wonderful rugby career which makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage of my life. It’s been an amazing journey in which I got to experience the highs and lows that come with professional sport and I have learned a huge amount from each experience. I’m now building on that foundation through completing my business degree.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have had, the people with whom I’ve worked and the lifelong friends I have made. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the medical staff and coaches I’ve worked with throughout my career and at Blackrock College. It’s been an honour and a privilege to represent my province, my country and the British and Irish Lions during my career and I’m glad to finish my career as a ‘one club man’.

“The support I got whilst playing for all three teams during the good times and the tough times is something I’ll cherish and never forget for the rest of my life.

“I’d like to acknowledge my parents, Andrea and Des, my siblings Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah and Aaron for their incredible support throughout the course of my rugby career.

Second Captains

“Lastly, I’d like to wish everyone in Leinster and Irish rugby the best for the future and I look forward to taking my place in the stand supporting everyone in the future.”

Former Blackrock College student Fitzgerald made his Leinster debut in September 2006 against Edinburgh. He would go on to make a further 17 appearances for Leinster in his debut season including three off the bench in the Heineken Cup. He would also score his maiden try in the Heineken Cup against Edinburgh in Murrayfield.

On the back of these performances in blue and only months after finishing his Leaving Certificate, Fitzgerald made his debut for Ireland against the Pacific Islands in November 2006 in a 61-17 win in Lansdowne Road.

Over the course of his career he would go on to win 154 caps for Leinster, 34 for Ireland - the same number as his father Des won as a prop with Ireland - and also played for the British & Irish Lions in their tour of South Africa in 2009. Most recently he was a part of the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad and scored a try in the Quarter-Final defeat to Argentina.

Fitzgerald’s achievements include a Six Nations title with Ireland in 2015 and a Grand Slam in 2009 where he started every game on the wing. He also won three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three Pro12 titles with Leinster.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has described his former team mate as one of the country’s ever wingers -

“I actually coached Luke before I ever became a team mate of his, when I helped out with the Blackrock College Senior team in 2004. Although I spent the majority of my time with the forwards, you could clearly see even then as a fourth year, that Luke was a special talent.

“I was lucky enough to have played with Luke from 2007 until I retired in 2014 and have spent the last couple of seasons coaching him.

“We are all gutted here at Leinster to hear that Luke has had to retire from the game. He has had an incredible career achieving almost everything there is to achieve in rugby. He will go down as one of the greatest wingers to have represented Leinster and Ireland.

“We will miss him greatly but we wish him every success in the next phase of his life. He will be a tremendous asset to wherever he focusses his efforts.

“We look forward to welcoming Luke and his family to the RDS in the season and the seasons ahead.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.