At the 2016 Leinster Rugby Awards Ball we said farewell and thank you to Kevin McLaughlin after the former Leinster captain was forced to retire earlier in the season.

Before McLaughlin took to the stage, Johnny Sexton and Fergus McFadden came forward to say a few words about the Leinster centurion and the impact he had during his time with the province.

“He’s an incredible guy and an incredible professional,” McFadden said on stage at the Awards Ball. “It’s hard to put into to words how much the club will really miss him.

“He’s got values that the club has almost based themselves on through a successful period. He’s the reason why Leinster as a club have got to a point where our standards are extremely high every year and every day in training.”

While McFadden touched on McLaughlin’s impact off the field over the years, Sexton emphasised his on-field commitment to the cause and just what that means to him as a fellow professional.

“When you’re growing up you always think you’re going to be judged, when you finish your career, on what you’ve won,” Sexton said. “I suppose as you get older you realise, for me anyway, you want to be known as a guy that other guys want to play with, and [Kevin] would be the first name on my team sheet every week.”

When McLaughlin joined the MC for the night, Darragh Maloney, on stage, the first thing he spoke about was the pride he felt playing for Leinster.

“I had a rocky road to getting on the team and that made it all the more special when I started to play with the team more regularly. I went through a lot of hard times over my career. I’ve been through a lot of tough times with some of the guys in this room. It just made it so special when we fought through a lot of that work and turned this into a successful club that people are proud to play for. And I literally could not be prouder to say I played for Leinster for 10 years.”

Watch the full interview with Kevin McLaughlin from the 2016 Leinster Rugby Awards Ball in the video above.