Paul O'Connell announces his retirement from rugby

The former Ireland captain failed to play a game for Toulon

Paul O'Connell announces his retirement from rugby

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal with Paul O’Connell Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/RC Toulon

Paul O'Connell has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

In a statement released on the IRFU website, O'Connell announced he was to step away from the game after suffering a hamstring injury during the World Cup last Autumn.

O'Connell joined French giants Toulon before the World Cup and was expected to join up with the team after the World Cup. Although moving to France, O'Connell never featured for the side.

In the statement, he thanked Toulon for their "understanding" along with former teams Young Munster, Munster, Ireland and the Lions,

"It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from professional rugby following medical advice. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Rugby Club Toulonnais for their understanding and support over the past few months.Since sustaining the injury at the World

Since sustaining the injury at the World Cup I have been fully focused on returning to fitness and starting an exciting new chapter for both myself and my family in Toulon. Unfortunately this will no longer be possible.

I have been blessed to be a professional rugby player for over 14 years and to be part of Munster and Ireland teams that have experienced success.

I have played with some of the best players to ever line out in the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and have had the privilege of captaining my country.

I would like to thank those at Young Munster RFC, Munster Rugby, the IRFU and Lions Rugby who have supported me over the course of my playing career.

Special thanks must go to my wife Emily for her unwavering support through the good and the bad and to my parents Michael and Shelagh.

Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has supported the teams I have been a part of. The support you have shown me is humbling and an immense source of pride for both myself and my family.

Paul O'Connell"