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Exeter statement: Immediate effect retirement of Rory O’Loughlin

Exeter's Rory O'Loughlin (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Former Ireland back Rory O’Loughlin has retired after failing to recover from a shoulder injury that limited his Exeter season to just four appearances.


The 2023 Premiership Rugby Cup winner played his last match for the Chiefs in January, but that start in the Investec Champions Cup win over Glasgow was restricted to just 10 minutes and he hasn’t been able to regain his fitness since then.

A statement read: “Exeter Chiefs centre/wing Rory O’Loughlin has been advised to retire from rugby on medical grounds.

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“The Dubliner suffered a serious shoulder injury at the beginning of the season and despite an intensive rehab period and attempts to get back to playing, having sought medical advice, he has been advised to retire from the sport.

O’Loughlin joined Chiefs at the outset of the 2022/23 season from United Rugby Championship side Leinster and has since made 24 Chiefs appearances. The 30-year-old, who is a former St Michael’s College student, made his senior Leinster debut in September 2016 against Benetton at the RDS.

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A post shared by Rory O’Loughlin (@rory_oloughlin)

“In the years that followed, he amassed 99 appearances for the province, collecting a winner’s medal in the 2018 Champions Cup and four Pro14 finals. Having already enjoyed international appearances on the sevens circuit, O’Loughlin made his full international debut for Ireland against Japan in 2017.

“The club would like to thank Rory for his time as an Exeter Chief and wish him well for everything that lies ahead.”


“While it has been a tough couple of months coming to terms with this new reality, I do count myself incredibly lucky to have played for two great clubs, alongside some of the game’s best players and more importantly some of my best mates,” said O’Loughlin.

“Although this season hasn’t gone to plan for me, I have loved my time here at Exeter. I was lucky enough to play in front of a packed-out Sandy Park many times in my first season.

“I have made friends here for life and the people of Exeter have been incredibly welcoming to me and my family. I’m looking forward to returning as a Chiefs fan and supporting the boys.”



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Jon 2 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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