It's close to a year since Jamie Heaslip was injured in the warm-up for Ireland's game against England in the Aviva Stadium. Since then, he has not played a game of rugby, with an injury that was somewhat shrouded in mystery.
While there was talk just recently that he was on the verge of a comeback for Leinster after the Six Nations, today, the worst fears of Irish rugby fans were confirmed when he announced over Twitter that, at 34 years of age, he has been forced to retire from the sport.
In an unbelievable career in which he won 100 test caps (including 5 for the Lions), and over 200 appearances for Leinster, he was at a centre of a period of huge success for both his country and his province, winning a Grand Slam, two Triple Crowns, three Six Nations Championships, three Pro-12s, three Heineken Cups, and a Challenge Cup.
He was also twice nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year, and in 2016, won the World Rugby Try of the Year for this:
Since the announcement came in, the rugby world have been quick to react to the news.
“Jamie, congratulations on what has been a truly remarkable career. Thank you for raising the bar at Leinster and for pushing us all to be better.”
Leo Cullen reacts to the news of @jamieheaslip's retirement: https://t.co/hlJUdRJOK2#ThanksJamie pic.twitter.com/OWPcGa1emx
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) February 26, 2018
Incredible career Jamie. It was a pleasure to play alongside you in the early days and pain to play against you in the later ones!! Enjoy the future no doubt it will be even more successful.
— Johne Murphy (@MurphyJohne) February 26, 2018
Wow. Big news this am. What a leader on and off the field. Contributed so much to the success of recent Ireland teams. Best of luck in the next chapter @jamieheaslip Hell of a career. The body deserves a break!! 🙌🏼8 https://t.co/iaCW7I6BwL
— James Downey (@jamesdowney23) February 26, 2018
What a pity. Best of luck to Heaslip in the future. A modern day great of Irish rugby. https://t.co/Y2zwWCs7iy
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) February 26, 2018
Sorry to hear this Jamie . Congratulations on a fantastic career. 🏉💪 https://t.co/cpFzUuLfHw
— Scott Quinnell (@ScottQuinnell) February 26, 2018
An outstanding stint at the base of the scrum https://t.co/OoWCsXmVNg
— Stuart Barnes (@SBarnesRugby) February 26, 2018