Injury forces Johnny Holland to retire aged 25

Munster outhalf described as ‘a consummate professional since early days in a red jersey’

Johnny Holland in Pro12 action for Munster last season. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Johnny Holland in Pro12 action for Munster last season. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

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Munster Rugby have confirmed that Johnny Holland will retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.

The young outhalf who initially sustained a hamstring injury while playing for Munster ‘A’ in the British and Irish Cup game against Nottingham in November 2014 has been advised to retire on medical grounds.

Commenting on the news Johnny Holland said, “This has obviously been a very tough time for me, and ultimately it is a decision that has been taken out of my hands. It is something that I have tried very hard to overcome but unfortunately it has become impossible for me to win this battle. As much as this is beyond my control, I don’t want to look back on my career with any sadness.”

“Rugby has given me so many opportunities and I have learned so much from the experience, with fantastic memories and friends for life. I am very proud to have represented my home province, especially at the end of last season, and am thankful for the support from underage rugby all the way up.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the medical team, strength and conditioning staff and coaches that helped me throughout my career, and special thanks must go to my family, girlfriend Chloe and close friends for their unwavering support.

“I believe this is an exciting time for Munster Rugby and while I am hugely disappointed that my time has come to an end I look forward to supporting from the stands, and to the next chapter.”

The talented playmaker, who turned 25 on Tuesday, made 11 appearances for the province after making his debut against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in November 2013. Last season he recovered to a point where he made seven appearances, including five successive starts, and scored his first competitive try against Leinster at the Aviva. At Munster ‘A’ level Holland made 14 British and Irish Cup appearances.

A Munster Rugby academy graduate Johnny was a product of Cork club rugby, progressing through the age-grade ranks of Douglas and Sundays Well before moving on to UCC, and finally Cork Constitution. Such was his potential, the Togher native was awarded the All Ireland League Division 1A Young Player of the Year during the 2012/13 season.

Munster released a statement on Thursday morning saying that - “although only making headlines with his breakthrough performances last season, Johnny has always stood out amongst his peers and has been a consummate professional since his early days in a red jersey.

“The UCC Commerce graduate displayed a maturity beyond his years with his self-disciplined and meticulous approach to life as a professional rugby player, both on and off the field.”

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