Neck injury forces Luke Fitzgerald into retirement

The 28-year-old played for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions

Luke Fitzgerald, Rugby, Leinster, Ireland, Injury, Lions

Luke Fitzgerald playing for the Lions in 2009. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Luke Fitzgerald has announced his retirement from rugby, aged 28.

The Leinster star has struggled with injuries throughout his career, with his last game coming in the Pro12 Final defeat to Connacht last month. According to Leinster Rugby, the neck injury he sustained in that game has forced the retirement decision.

Fitzgerald made his debut for Leinster as a teenager in September 2006, with his international debut coming two months later. He played 34 times for Ireland and one test for the Lions on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

His last appearance for Ireland came in last years World Cup quarter-final, when he scored a try in the 43-20 loss to Argentina in Cardiff. He scored four tries for Ireland and was part of the 2009 Grand Slam-winning team.

At Leinster, Fitzgerald played 154 times for the province, scoring 32 tries. He won three Heineken Cups, three Pro12s and a Challenge Cup with Leinster.

"I've had a wonderful rugby career which makes it easy for me to move on to the next stage of my life", Fitzgerald told Leinster's website. "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'.