Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald forced to retire from rugby aged 28

Luke Fitzgerald won 34 caps for Ireland between 2006 and 2016
Luke Fitzgerald won 34 caps for Ireland between 2006 and 2016

Leinster, Ireland and Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald has been forced to retire from rugby on medical grounds aged 28.

Fitzgerald has struggled with a serious neck injury for several years and suffered another setback in Leinster's Pro12 final defeat by Connacht in May.

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

The 34-times capped Irish player won a Grand Slam in 2009, a Six Nations in 2015 and three Heineken Cups.

Luke Fitzgerald won one cap for the British & Irish Lions against South Africa in 2009
Luke Fitzgerald won one cap for the British & Irish Lions against South Africa in 2009

Fitzgerald burst onto the international arena in 2006 but injury problems curtailed his career.

He did not make the 2007 or 2011 World Cup squads but finally made his World Cup debut against Canada last September.

After playing in every game of Ireland's Grand-Slam winning team in 2009, he was selected for the British and Irish Lions squad that summer, earning one cap against South Africa.

The former Blackrock College player won 154 caps in a glittering career with Leinster, with three Pro12 league titles along with three Heineken Cups.

"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," he said.

"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."

His retirement is the second blow in a week for Leinster coach Leo Cullen following scrum-half Eoin Reddan's decision to quit the game.

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