Ireland and Leinster back Luke Fitzgerald has been forced to retire from rugby on medical grounds. The 28-year-old, a British & Irish Lion, suffered a neck injury during the Guinness PRO12 final against Connacht and has been forced to quit the game.
He told Leinster’s website: “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 & 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.”
Fitzgerald made his Leinster debut in September 2006 against Edinburgh, and his Ireland debut just two months later. He played 154 times for Leinster and won 34 Ireland caps, the same number as his father Des won. He also played for the Lions on the 2009 tour of South Africa. Most recently he was a part of Ireland’s 2015 World Cup squad and scored a try in their quarter-final defeat to Argentina. He won the Grand Slam with Ireland in 2009 plus the 2015 title, and with Leinster he won three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three PRO12 titles.