Ireland No 8 Heaslip retires after year out with injury
DUBLIN (AP) Ireland No. 8 Jamie Heaslip announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect on Monday after nearly a year out of the international game with a back injury.
The 34-year-old Heaslip, who played 95 tests and captained his country 13 times, has not played for Ireland since suffering a back problem 11 months ago during the warmup of the team’s final game of last year’s Six Nations, against England. He underwent a second operation on the injury in November.
In a statement on Twitter, Heaslip said he was retiring on medical advice ”to ensure my future well-being.”
”Time will get to us all,” he wrote, ”but it’s cornered me earlier than I hoped.”
”My goal when I started my professional career 14 years ago was to leave the jersey that I wore in a better place and I hope I have done that,” Heaslip added. ”I’ve had the time of my life on and off the rugby pitch but now it’s time for the next chapter.”
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Heaslip was an ”intelligent and incredibly robust player” who was ”utterly professional, driven to succeed and a leader with the actions he delivered.”
Heaslip won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2009, and was a European champion at club level with Leinster on three occasions. He was shortlisted for World Rugby’s Player of the Year award in 2009 and ’16, and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and ’13.