Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Leinster statement: The confirmed retirement of Rhys Ruddock

By Liam Heagney
Rhys Ruddock with Ireland at Rugby World Cup 2019 (Photo by Richard Heathcote/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Former Ireland captain Rhys Ruddock has confirmed he will retire from rugby at the end of the current season rather than seek a potential switch to Wales.

ADVERTISEMENT

It was at the start of 2024 when he was linked with a change in allegiance from green to red, but no call-up materialised from Warren Gatland for the Guinness Six Nations and the back-rower has now opted to retire rather than extend his career.

A statement read: “Leinster back row Rhys Ruddock, who has played 228 times for Leinster and has been capped on 27 occasions by Ireland, has announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the current season.

Video Spacer

Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

Video Spacer

Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

“The 33-year-old made his debut for Leinster in December 2009 against the Dragons in the number six shirt and since then has been an ever-present in the Leinster back row and on occasions second row for Michael Cheika, Joe Schmidt, Matt O’Connor, and Leo Cullen.

“Less than a year after his Leinster debut, he pulled on a senior Ireland jersey for the first time, against Australia, in the summer of 2010, when still only 19, as a late injury call-up for their tour down under.

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Leinster
33 - 7
Full-time
Connacht
All Stats and Data

“His leadership qualities have also shone over many years captaining Ireland U-20s to a Six Nations title and going on to captain Leinster and Ireland at senior level.

“In February 2011, Ruddock became the youngest ever Leinster captain when only 20-years-old against Aironi. Since his debut in 2009, Ruddock has been part of six URC title winnings squads, three Champions Cup titles, and a Challenge Cup.

ADVERTISEMENT

“He was also named on the PRO12 team of the year in 2014. With Ireland, he won a Six Nations title in 2014 and played in the 2015 and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”

Ruddock said: “This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make. To retire from playing the game you love isn’t easy, however, after 15 years of professional rugby, I feel the time is right for me now and I’m excited for the next chapter.

“Supporting the Leinster team in Donnybrook as an eight-year-old, while my dad was coach, I could only have dreamed about putting on a Leinster jersey myself. To go on to play my whole career with this team has been a dream come true.

“Leinster has been such a huge part of my life. I have made some of my best friends here, with teammates past and present and had the privilege to be coached by, and work with, the most amazing group of people.

ADVERTISEMENT

“To have had the opportunity to captain both Leinster and Ireland has been an incredible honour and is something I will always treasure and look back on with pride.

“I am hugely appreciative of the support the fans have given us over the years and have always felt privileged to represent you. To everyone who has helped me on my rugby journey, but in particular, to Mumbles RFC, UCD, St Mary’s, and in Leinster; to the players, the coaches, the medics, staff, and the supporters, thank you.

“I couldn’t have done any of it without the unwavering support of my family. To my mum and dad, Bernadette and Mike, to Katie, Ciaran, and to my partner Caoimhe, thank you all so much for the support through the good days and the bad.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without you all in my corner. It’s been one hell of a journey so far; so many incredible memories made and friendships built. I’m looking forward to giving everything I can to help this team finish this season on a high.”

Leinster head coach Cullen added: “The Ruddock family have played a huge role in the evolution of Leinster Rugby in the professional era. Rhys’ father Mike was our first full-time professional coach and Rhys was a young boy back in 1997 when I first laid eyes on him. He certainly grew up quickly representing Ireland first when he was only 19.

“I was lucky enough to both play with and coach Rhys. He has been a fantastic player and role model to so many others during his time with Leinster.

“He has amazing leadership qualities and is a great competitor who has shown a deep care for so many of his teammates during his distinguished career. We would like to wish Rhys and all the Ruddock family every success for the future.”

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain Gatland braces himself for a summer of short term pain for long term gain
Search