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Irish Ojo to finish playing

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One-club man Ojo is hanging up the boots... but he isn't leaving Irish for good

Fan favourite Topsy Ojo is to retire from professional rugby at the end of this season after 16 years with London Irish.

The popular winger, who this season made his 300th appearance for the Exiles against Yorkshire Carnegie, will make his farewell home appearance at the Madejski Stadium this weekend against Ealing Trailfinders.

The club’s all-time record appearance maker is also the London Irish record try-scorer with 80 tries to his name in all competitions.

“It has been a privilege to play for this club since 2003 and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do so for so long” said Ojo.

“I’m very proud of the milestones and the records I’ve achieved that will hopefully stand for a long long, time. I am also delighted that the club is back in the now named Gallagher Premiership with a positive future on the horizon, and even though I won’t be on the pitch anymore, hopefully I can continue to make an impact off it.

“I’ll be moving into a commercial position as I take on an ambassadorial role for the club as it gets ready to move to its new home at the Brentford Community Stadium next summer. There are also other opportunities which will be announced in due course, so there is still plenty to keep me busy with the club.

“I would like to thank all the supporters who have been brilliant since the day I started as well as the coaches and teammates who I’ve worked with over the years.

“Thank you to my wife, my kids, my parents and my brothers for all their love and support through it all. Rugby has allowed me to do so much and hopefully I’ve been able to give back and leave a mark in some way.”

It was July 2003 when Ojo joined the club’s Academy from Dartford Grammar School and he made his first-team debut against Wasps in October 2005 before going on to become an established member of the London Irish back line in a period among the best in the club’s professional history.

He played in a Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse in 2008 and went on to play in a Premiership final in 2009. Following an outstanding 2008 campaign, the winger made his England international debut on the tour of New Zealand that summer, crossing for a brace of tries on his Test debut.

London Irish president Mick Crossan said: “Topsy has been a magnificent servant to London Irish for what he has done both on and off the field. He has broken all the club’s major records and has done so in a classy manner.

“As a club, we owe Topsy a great deal of gratitude for all his efforts over the last 16 years. He is a London Irish man and I am delighted he will remain with us as he enters the next chapter of his life.”

WATCH: Part two of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary-series on Leicester Tigers

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One-club man Ojo is hanging up the boots... but he isn't leaving Irish for good