Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen has given his reaction to news this morning that Jamie Heaslip has been forced to retire with immediate effect.

“We are all saddened by the news that Jamie is retiring from the game after sustaining an injury before the Ireland against England game last March.

“I remember first seeing Jamie in the Leinster Academy and knowing straight away that he had something very different about him, a confidence and a belief in what he was doing.

“It was in 2007 when I returned from a playing stint in England that my initial impression was confirmed – in the two years I was away, Jamie had become a mainstay of the Leinster team.

“What separated Jamie was his attention to detail, his desire to continuously improve, his work rate and his fierce competitive instincts when he was on the field. Jamie wanted to win and that meant the standard of what his team mates was delivering had to get better also.

“I don’t think any Leinster fan, myself included, will forget his try in the 2009 Heineken Cup Final against Leicester Tigers when he drove himself over the line with a little help from Shane Jennings, or his wrap around scoring pass to Johnny Sexton in the 2011 Heineken Cup Final, or his vital turnover on our own try line as Ulster were on the attack in the 2012 Heineken Cup Final. When it came to the big occasions, Jamie somehow always delivered big moments.

“His durability over the course of a long career was testament to how he lived his life as a professional athlete, and he managed to squeeze an incredible amount into the time he had as a rugby player.

“We will miss Jamie greatly at Leinster but we wish him and wife Sheena the very best for their future. To Jamie’s parents Richard (Dick) and Christine, we hope to still see you at Leinster games. You have been there along every step of the way and we’ll also miss you greatly. So many parents go through the highs and lows that this great game provides and we are very thankful for the support that you have given us over the years.

“Jamie, congratulations on what has been a truly remarkable career. Thank you for raising the bar at Leinster and for pushing us all to be better.”