LEICESTER TIGERS CAPTAIN and former Irish international Geordan Murphy has announced his decision to retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season.
Murphy, 35, has made 322 appearances for Leicester following his debut in 1997.
In that time he has amassed 691 points for the Welford Road outfit and racked up 72 Ireland appearances as well as two caps with the British and Irish Lions.
In a statement on the club’s website, Murphy said:
“Every player wants to play on forever but, unfortunately, your body just doesn’t let you do that. It’s with a very heavy heart that I have had to accept defeat and announce that I will retire from playing this season.
“I have been very lucky with Leicester to win a fair amount of silverware and I am looking forward to looking back on that at some stage – it still hasn’t really sunk in.”
Murphy, who retired from Ireland duty in May 2012, went on to thank Leicester fans for the support they’ve shown him over the years.
” Welford Road is a very special place, it is very dear to my heart, as are the supporters. I have been here a long time, stayed here when I could have left, and I think the supporters and Welford Road played a huge part in the reason I am still here after 16 seasons.
The Tigers director of Rugby Richard Cockerill was keen to heap praise on Murphy saying:
“Geordan is an all-time great at this club. He has been a major player for us for so long and has had a massive impact on the team in his time here.
“He has played at the very top level of the game for a long time and has been one of the most outstanding players in the history of Premiership rugby.”
Cockerill also confirmed that Murphy would join the Leicester coaching staff when his playing career ends this summer.