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Luke Fitzgerald Has Announced His Retirement From Rugby

Luke Fitzgerald Has Announced His Retirement From Rugby
By John Balfe
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Leinster and Ireland back Luke Fitzgerald, 28, has been forced to hang up his boots on medical grounds.

Fitzgerald suffered a neck injury in the PRO12 final against Connacht and has been advised by doctors to retire, it was announced this morning on LeinsterRugby.ie.

He said:

I've had a wonderful rugby career which makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage of my life. 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.

I'm very thankful for the opportunities I have had, the people with whom I've worked and the lifelong friends I have made. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the medical staff and coaches I've worked with throughout my career and at Blackrock College. It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my province, my country and the British & Irish Lions during my career and I'm glad to finish my career as a 'one club man'.

The support I got whilst playing for all three teams during the good times and the tough times is something I'll cherish and never forget for the rest of my life.

I'd like to acknowledge my parents, Andrea and Des, my siblings Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah and Aaron for their incredible support throughout the course of my rugby career.

Lastly, I'd like to wish everyone in Leinster and Irish rugby the best for the future and I look forward to taking my place in the stand supporting everyone in the future.

Fitzgerald was just a few months short of celebrating 10 years in the Leinster jersey. He made his debut in the blue jersey against Edinburgh in September 2006 and followed that with his first Ireland appearance in 61-17 win over the Pacific Islands in November of the same year.

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The former Blackrock College man won 34 caps for Ireland - the same number as his father Des - though it would likely have been a lot more had he not been blighted by a series of injuries throughout his career.

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Fitzgerald was a part of the British & Irish Lions touring party to South Africa and started one of the three tests against the Springboks.

More recently, Fitzgerald was included in Joe Schmidt's World Cup squad last year and scored a try in the quarter final defeat against Argentina.

The winger will be remembered fondly for his time with Leinster and Ireland, being part of the 2015 6 Nations winning side and starting every match of Ireland's Grand Slam campaign of 2009. He can count three Heineken Cups, three PRO12 titles and a Challenge Cup medal in his trophy cabinet.

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