Munster hooker Damien Varley forced to retire because of injury
Munster and Ireland hooker Damien Varley has been forced to retire from rugby because of a foot injury.
Varley made only one appearance this season when he came on as a replacement against Leinster in October.
The 31-year-old hooker, who made 121 appearances for Munster and won three Ireland caps, sustained his foot injury at a training session in July 2013.
Varley battled hard to retain fitness and played for Ireland against Argentina last summer.
However, he underwent further surgery after playing in the game against Leinster and has now been forced to retire after taking medical advice.
"It is with great sadness that I have to announce my premature retirement," said Varley.
|Damien Varley factfile|
|1983: Born in Limerick|
|2002: Helped St Munchin's win Munster Schools Cup|
|2006: Munster debut against Ospreys|
|2008: Joins Wasps on one-year contract|
|2009: Returns to Munster and makes Heineken Cup debut against Treviso|
|2010: Makes Ireland debut and helped Munster beat Australia|
|2011: Part of Munster's Magners League-winning side|
|2014: Wins third and final Ireland cap against Argentina|
"I am privileged to have represented my province and country and I am hugely thankful for all the memories, and for the support I have received throughout my career."
Varley made his Munster debut against the Ospreys in May 2006 and after moving to Wasps in 2008, returned to the Thomond Park club at the start of the 2009-10 season.
The Clare man started in Munster's win over Australia in November 2010 and helped the province land the Magners League title in May 2011 when they defeated Leinster in the Grand Final.
Last season, Varley captained Munster on eight occasions including in the Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon.
The hooker made his Ireland debut against Australia in 2010 and his final cap came in Argentina last June.
Munster coach Anthony Foley paid tribute to Varley's contribution to the Irish province.
"He was a highly regarded and talented individual, and always led by example with his attitude, professionalism and work ethic, on and off the field," said Foley.