Jamie Heaslip has announced his decision to retire from rugby with immediate effect.
Heaslip has not played since suffering a lower back injury in the warm up to the England 6 Nations game in March 2017.
Heaslip’s last game for Leinster was a few weeks earlier when he played all 80 minutes in the 24-24 draw away to Castres in the Champions Cup.
Despite an intensive period of rehabilitation since then, Heaslip has been forced to retire from the game.
“A lot of players unfortunately don’t get the opportunity to bow out on their own terms” Heaslip told leinsterrugby.ie.
“Thankfully having taken my time and after medical advice and consultation with my wife and close family, I have taken this decision with my future well-being in mind.”
“Since my rugby journey began pulling on a jersey in Naas, to Newbridge College and Dublin University, all I’ve ever wanted was to represent Leinster but I’ve been lucky enough to exceed even my own wildest dreams with a career that I am hugely proud of with Leinster, Ireland and with the British & Irish Lions.
“I would like to thank most sincerely the doctors, the physios and the S&C team in Leinster Rugby and the IRFU for their help throughout my career but in particular over the last 12 months” explained Heaslip.
“No stone was left unturned by them, or I, as we sought a way back.”
Heaslip made his Leinster Rugby debut in March 2005 against Neath Swansea Ospreys coming off the bench in a 12-16 loss in Donnybrook.
Since then he has added a further 228 caps to his Leinster CV, scoring 38 tries in the process and is the most capped Leinster forward of all-time.
In his time with Leinster, Heaslip won three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three Celtic League/PRO12 titles and was named captain of the side in August 2014.
The 34-year-old made his Ireland debut in November 2006 against the Pacific Islands becoming the 1,000th player to pull on the green jersey.
Heaslip made his 6 Nations debut against Italy in 2008, and went to captain Ireland, winning at total of 95 caps and scoring 13 tries.
“Jamie was an intelligent and incredibly robust player” explained Ireland head coach Joe Schimdt.
“The string of trophies he contributed to is lengthy, including three European Cups, three Six Nations, including the 2009 Grand Slam and a couple of Pro12 trophies thrown in for good measure.“
“There are so many moments that spring to mind, whether it be his superb second half against Northampton in the 2011 Heineken Cup final or his clever line and tireless work ethic that combined to see him score the International Try of the Year two years ago, or his crucial try saving tackle on Stuart Hogg on ‘Super Sunday’, to help tip the balance in retaining the Six Nations trophy“.
“Utterly professional, driven to succeed and a leader with the actions he delivered” declared Schimdt.
Heaslip was twice nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year Award in 2009 and in 2016 and he won the World Rugby Try of the Year Award for his score against Italy in the 2016 6 Nations.
The Kildare native was also part of two British & Irish Lions tours in 2009 and 2013 winning 12 caps and scoring two tries in the tours to South Africa and Australia.