O’Connell calls it a day

Ireland great Paul O’Connell has retired from all rugby with immediate effect.

O'Connell called time on his international career after suffering a hamstring injury in a World Cup pool game against France, but was set to take up a two-year contract with Toulon.

However, he has battled to recover, and took medical advice to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

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

'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.

'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. 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.'

O’Connell, widely regarded as one of the best locks of all time, played in 115 Tests – 108 for Ireland and seven for the British & Irish Lions.

Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis