Leo Cullen hails Luke Fitzgerald as "one of the greatest wingers" as he announces retirement

The Leinster player has called it a day thanks to a neck injury at the age of 28-years-old

Luke Fitzgerald, Ireland, LEinster, Leo Cullen

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Luke Fitzgerald announced his retirement from rugby on Tuesday morning, aged just 28-years-old, citing a neck injury as the main cause. 

Speaking after the announcement, head coach Leo Cullen expressed his gratitude for everything that he had done for the province, but also spoke about the massive sense of loss that they were feeling in the wake of his decision. 

"We're absolutely gutted here, you know Lukey has played such an important part in all of Leinster's success in recent times. He's such a phenomenally talented player who works incredibly hard, he's so popular amongst the group, so  he's going to be a massive loss. We'll all miss him here."

While Cullen was his head coach at the province over the past year, he came across Fitzgerald at an earlier age and stated that even when he was still involved in the schools game, you could see the talent shining through. 

"I actually coached Luke before I ever became a team mate of his, when I helped out with the Blackrock College Senior team in 2004. Although I spent the majority of my time with the forwards, you could clearly see even then as a fourth year, that Luke was a special talent.

"I was lucky enough to have played with Luke from 2007 until I retired in 2014 and have spent the last couple of seasons coaching him."

Some of his other former team-mates from Leinster, Ireland and the Lions have taken to social media to pay tribute to him, including Gordon D'Arcy and Jamie Roberts.