This morning, news emerged that Gordon D'Arcy had signed his last playing contract. It had been suggested that the 35 year old might hang up his boots at the end of this season but he has instead signed a four month contract extension which will bering him up the end of the World Cup.
Whether D'Arcy is present at that World Cup is not yet clear but if not, he will be available to Matt O'Connor at a time when the Leinster squad is need of experienced reinforcements. Although he may not be gone just yet, today's announcement was essentially a retirement.
With 81 caps for Ireland, D'Arcy will inevitably go down as one of our most successful players. The centre played through the most decorated period for both club and province and his partnership with Brian O'Driscoll will go down as perhaps the greatest Irish sport has ever seen.
Giving his reaction to the Leinster website, D'Arcy penned a rather touching letter to fans, thanking them for the support he has received over the course of his 17 year career.
Leinster will always hold a special place in my heart, my first and only club. Since my debut in 1998 against Llanelli, it has been a privilege to be part of this organisation and to see how it has grown over the years. Games in Donnybrook of a Friday night in front of a couple of thousand spectators have been replaced with great days in Croke Park, in the Aviva Stadium and of course more often than not in the RDS.
As part of that journey I have seen dark days, but the abiding memory is of a club and an organisation that wouldn't settle for mediocrity and only wanted to be the best. Developing that culture and ethos took time and foresight and this is to be commended. The move to the RDS from Donnybrook. The new facilities in UCD. Marquee signings and the retention of home-grown players. An Academy system to rival any other in world rugby. At home or away, we took on the giants of European rugby and we had great days. I am proud to have played a small part in that evolution.
Whether he makes the World Cup squad or not, there's no doubting D'Arcy's contribution to Irish rugby over the past decade and a half and he will certainly be missed.