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Published: 10:31 | 9/2/16

Paul O'Connell retires

Hamstring injury ends his career

Paul O'Connell has announced his retirement from rugby on medical grounds.

O'Connell has not played since suffering a serious hamstring injury in Ireland's Rugby World Cup win over France in October 2015.

He had been due to join French club Toulon but his ongoing struggle with injury has resulted in his contract being cancelled without playing game.

"It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from professional rugby following medical advice. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Rugby Club Toulonnais for their understanding and support over the past few months," O'Connell said in a statement.

"Since sustaining the injury at the World Cup I have been fully focused on returning to fitness and starting an exciting new chapter for both myself and my family in Toulon. Unfortunately this will no longer be possible."

At club level, O'Connell played for Young Munster before joining Munster. He made his provincial debut in August 2001 and went on to win two Heineken Cups and three Celtic Leagues, while he won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam, with Ireland.

"I have been blessed to be a professional rugby player for over 14 years and to be part of Munster and Ireland teams that have experienced success," the statement added.

"I have played with some of the best players to ever line out in the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and have had the privilege of captaining my country.

"I would like to thank those at Young Munster RFC, Munster Rugby, the IRFU and Lions Rugby who have supported me over the course of my playing career.

"Special thanks must go to my wife Emily for her unwavering support through the good and the bad and to my parents Michael and Shelagh.

"Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has supported the teams I have been a part of. The support you have shown me is humbling and an immense source of pride for both myself and my family."

Reacting to the news of O'Connell's retirement, former Ireland team-mate Brian O'Driscoll tweeted: "Really disappointing to see @Paul_OConnell having to retire. Sensational career in Red & Green. Simply irreplaceable."

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