Leinster Rugby Chief Executive Michael Dawson and Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt lead the tributes to Shane Horgan who has announced his retirement from the game…

Leinster Rugby Chief Executive Michael Dawson said: “It is a sad day whenever a player has to retire prematurely, but Shane can look back on his long career with great pride. He was an integral part of both the Leinster and Ireland teams for a sustained period of time and his selection for the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand – where he earned three caps – was a high accolade which was richly deserved.

“For many supporters, Shane will be remembered for his outstanding feats on the international stage and it is somewhat fitting that his playing career finished on a high when he was invited by club captain Leo Cullen to join himself and Gordon D’Arcy on the winner’s podium to receive the Heineken Cup trophy in the Millennium Stadium last year. That gesture summed up the high esteem in which Shane was held and continues to be held by his peers.

“An outstanding ambassador for Meath, Leinster and Ireland  on behalf of everybody involved with Leinster Rugby I would like to thank him for his outstanding service to Leinster Rugby. It goes without saying that we wish Shane well with his future and I know that he will continue to make a positive impression in whatever field he decides to pursue.”

Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt added: “As one of the longest serving players in the professional age, Shane will no doubt go down as one of the greats of Leinster and Irish rugby. He was a strong leader within the group whose contribution off the field mirrored his many feats on it.

“It was great to be involved with Shane last season where his performances contributed so much to the success of the team. It was fitting that his final season culminated in a second Heineken Cup success.

“The last year has been a frustrating one for Shane with knee surgery and long periods of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he has been unable to regain full fitness. It is a testament to Shane that his professionalism and influence have continued to impact positively on the group during this season.

“A born winner and resilient competitor, Shane’s retirement will no doubt leave a void in the group, but I know that his legacy of excellence and athleticism will continue to inspire future generations and we wish him all the best in the future.”