British & Irish Lions

Neck injury forces Ireland’s British & Irish Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald to retire

The 28-year-old Leinster back won a grand slam in 2009, a Six Nations in 2015, three European Cup titles and toured South Africa with the 2009 Lions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2016, 1:34am

Ireland international wing Luke Fitzgerald has announced he will retire from professional rugby with immediate effect because of injury.

The 28-year-old’s provincial team Leinster said Fitzgerald had been advised to retire on medical grounds after suffering a neck injury in the PRO12 final against Connacht last month.

The 34-times capped player won a grand slam in 2009, a Six Nations in 2015 and three European Cup titles and toured South Africa with the 2009 British and Irish Lions, but has been hampered by injury throughout his career.

“I’ve had a wonderful rugby career, which makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage of my life,” Fitzgerald told www.leinsterrugby.ie.

“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.

“It has 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 while playing for all three teams during the good times and the tough times is something I will cherish and never forget for the rest of my life.”

Fitzgerald made his Leinster debut in 2006 and went on to make more than 150 appearances, scoring 32 tries. He helped the club win the European Cup three times and three PRO12 titles.

He first featured for Ireland almost 10 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father Des, who also won 34 caps.

His final test match appearance came in Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final defeat against Argentina last October, when he scored a try.

His retirement is the second in a week for Leinster following scrum-half Eoin Reddan’s decision to quit the game.