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British and Irish Lions Superstar to retire at the end of the season

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Friday Apr 8, 2022

After an incredible 14 year career, former Irish international Sean O’Brien has announced that he will be retiring from the game.

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The powerful backrower played the majority of his professional life for European titans Leinster. Here he was able to help them reach the 2009 Heineken Cup final as well as spearheading them to wins in both the 2011 and the 2012 versions of the competition.

O’Brien was also an important member of the Irish national side with 56 caps to his name, winning his first cap as a substitute against Fiji in 2009.

A powerful player, O’Brien picked up many accolades during his playing career. Named 2010–2011 ERC European Player of the Year and 2011 Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland player of the year to name just two.

That stand out year really pushed O’Brien to the forefront of back rowers in world rugby. This enabled him to star in a total of 5 test matches for the British and Irish Lions in their 2013 and 2017 tours. Famously finishing off one of the most incredible Lions tries of all time in their game against the All Blacks in 2017.

O’Brien joined English Premiership outfit London Irish in 2019. Bringing along with him plenty of experience, he was able to help the side through three successful seasons and become a real fan favourite with the Exiles.

Leinster boss Leo Cullen, who played alongside and coached O’Brien, had the following to say:

“He was a fearless competitor and he gave incredible confidence to those around him. Seán also made a huge impact at grassroots level where he has done so much great work in helping grow the game and inspiring so many young players to believe that anything was possible. On behalf of everyone at Leinster Rugby, we would like to wish Seán every success in the future as he takes on new challenges in the next stage of his life.”

A statement released by London Irish reads:

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“After much deliberation and consultation with my family and friends, I can confirm that I have decided to retire from playing professional rugby at the end of the season. I’ve had an incredible career and I am thankful for every second of my time at Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the British and Irish Lions.

I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career. At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 56 caps for Ireland. I gave everything I could possibly give, and I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the Irish jersey to represent my country, my county, my friends and family.

There is still a lot of rugby to be played this season before the time comes to hang up my boots, and I am fully focused on giving my all in the London Irish jersey until then. I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be. I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options, and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”

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