Fergus McFadden has been praised “as one of the hardest players in the game” following the Leinster player’s announcement that he will retire at the end of the season.

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After making his debut for the Irish province in September 2007, McFadden was part of the most successful era in Leinster’s history, representing the Irish province 184 times to date.

News of his retirement has seen a host of team-mates take to social media to praise McFadden’s contribution to Leinster rugby across a glittering 13-year career.

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“One of the best team mates of them all,” Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll wrote on Twitter.

“Loved playing in the same team as him. Hard as f*** and a mental toughness to live with anyone.”

“One of the hardest players in the game,” McFadden’s former Leinster team-mate Sean O’Brien wrote on Instagram.

Jamie Heaslip, who retired in 2018, said: “One of the most determined, toughest, talented players I’ve had the pleasure to call a teammate. Always wanted this guy on your team.”

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On Instagram, Rob Kearney wrote: “So many amazing memories with man – tough as nails on the pitch, always stood up on the big occasions and fair to say the best craic off the field too.”

“Absolutely loved taking the field with this man over the years,” wrote Rhys Ruddock.

“Always know he will have your back, on and off the pitch.”

McFadden confirmed his intention to retire on Sunday, with Leinster head coach Leo Cullen, also a former team-mate of McFadden, also reserving high praise for the versatile back.

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“Fergus has been an amazing contributor to lots of great things that have taken place in Leinster and Irish rugby and he’s definitely one of the great characters that we’ve had around in the group,” Cullen said.

Having played in both of Leinster’s Heineken Cup final wins in 2011 and 2012, McFadden missed the 2018 win over Racing after picking up an injury while scoring a try in the semi-final win against Scarlets.

McFadden also played in Leinster’s Pro12 final wins in 2013 and 2014.

He won 34 caps for Ireland, scoring 10 tries at Test level, and playing in the 2011 World Cup.

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