Leinster's Rhys Ruddock to retire at end of campaign

Leinster's Rhys Ruddock to retire at end of campaign

Leinster's Rhys Ruddock has announced that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the current campaign.

Ruddock, who played 228 times for Leinster and won 27 caps for Ireland during his career, made his debut for Leinster in December 2009 against the Dragons and has played in a number of positions since then. His full Ireland debut came against Australia in the summer of 2010, when he was still only 19.

Throughout his career, Ruddock won six URC titles, three Champions Cup titles, a Challenge Cup, and was named in the PRO12 Team of the Year in 2014. With Ireland, he won a Six Nations title in 2014 and played in the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.

Ruddock also had success at the underage level. The Dubliner captained the Ireland U-20s to a Six Nations title and went on to captain Leinster and Ireland at the senior level. He also became the youngest ever Leinster captain when he was only 20 years old, against Aironi.

Speaking on the official Leinster website, the 34-year-old said, "This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. To retire from playing the game you love isn’t easy; however, after 15 years of professional rugby, I feel the time is right for me now, and I’m excited for the next chapter.

"Supporting the Leinster team in Donnybrook as an eight-year-old while my dad was coach, I could only have dreamed about putting on a Leinster jersey myself. To go on to play my whole career with this team has been a dream come true.

"Leinster has been such a huge part of my life. I have made some of my best friends here, with teammates past and present, and I have had the privilege to be coached by and work with the most amazing group of people."

Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen also paid tribute to Ruddock, saying, "The Ruddock family have played a huge role in the evolution of Leinster Rugby in the professional era.

"Rhys’ father, Mike, was our first full-time professional coach, and Rhys was a young boy back in 1997 when I first laid eyes on him!

"He certainly grew up quickly, representing Ireland first when he was only 19.

"I was lucky enough to both play with and coach Rhys. He has been a fantastic player and role model to so many others during his time with Leinster. He has amazing leadership qualities and is a great competitor who has shown deep care for so many of his teammates during his distinguished career.

"We would like to wish Rhys and all the Ruddock family every success for the future."