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Ex-Ireland lock Dan Tuohy back in rugby 15 months after a horror injury forced his retirement

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Former Ireland international Dan Tuohy is back in the game as boss of the newly formed academy at Malone, the Belfast-based All-Ireland League club, after having his playing career cut short last year through serious injury. The 35-year-old earned eleven Test caps between 2010 and 2015, featuring twice in the title-winning 2014 Six Nations, but time was called on his playing days in February 2020 following the horror arm fracture sustained five months earlier while lining out for Vannes in the Pro D2 in France.  

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Tuohy tweeted at the time about how disillusioned he was with the business of rugby, writing: “I have read many a retirement letter thanking everyone and his dog for their unwavering support and contribution, how they have loved every second… well the truth for me is I haven’t.

“(Rugby) is starting to look like it is rotten from the core and I have a real fear that the values that made me fall for rugby have nearly disappeared; integrity and loyalty (are things) of the past. Even a simple gesture of looking someone in the eye has gone. You have to have a thick skin in this game. Rugby is a business; people need to always remember that.

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“As a professional, you get paid well. The lifestyle is class; it really is a dream job, although I had grown sick and tired of the pre-season goal-setting of honesty and respect being brandished around only to be broken almost straight away by the same people preaching it. I have travelled the world, met some great people that now have become lifelong friends, memories that can never be taken away and some absolutely amazing nights out. Really that is what it is all about.”

Now back in Belfast, the city the ex-Ireland lock got to know well during his time playing for Ulster, Tuohy is hoping to ramp things up at Malone after briefly doing some forwards coaching at Vannes before exiting France.

“The new academy system will be a major boost to club rugby in Ulster and I want Malone to be at the forefront of making it work,” said Tuohy on the Malone website after the provincial branch initiated the process of setting up academy rugby for players between the ages of 18-21 throughout Ulster. “I understand how important this is to the future of Malone and I’m fully committed to improving our in-house transition from minis through youth and academy to senior rugby. I’m looking forward to meeting the players and getting started.”

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Tuohy suffered his career-ending injury when accidentally dropped in September 2019 while being lifted to catch a kick-off. His terrible fall left his left arm in a mess where nerve damage affected his hand so badly that he couldn’t even make a proper thumbs up.

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Ex-Ireland lock Dan Tuohy back in rugby 15 months after a horror injury forced his retirement

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