Recent Ulster signing Mike Maguire has been forced to retire from rugby due to a degenerative hip disorder.
The Ireland-qualified New Zealander, who signed a two-year contract with Ulster at the beginning of the month after a six-month spell with Worcester Warriors, confirmed his retirement on Thursday.
The 24-year-old centre/winger was unaware of the condition and has never experienced anything more than some stiffness in the joint, post-match or after training.
However, the Ulster medical staff flagged up the trouble-spot during his medical and subsequent scans have revealed that Maguire has a condition which, unbeknown to either the player or any of his previous clubs, he has had since birth.
The condition could potentially have been managed, allowing Maguire to continue his rugby-playing career, however the consequence would be serious arthritis problems in later life and Maguire, together with Ulster Rugby, has taken the decision to retire altogether from the game.
Ulster coach Mark McCall commented: "We're obviously very disappointed to lose Mike from the squad, he's settled in and trained very well since the start of pre-season, however, he must look to his long-term future and we fully support his decision to retire from rugby."
A former Otago player, Maguire, who has a Finance and Economics degree, has decided to remain in Belfast with his girlfriend Emma and hopes to find work.
"We've both settled here really well and even though I'm no longer able to play rugby, I've already made a great network of friends in the players and coaching staff," he admitted.
I'm hoping to use my degree to help me find employment and while retiring from rugby has been an incredibly tough decision to make, both Emma and I intend to make the most of our opportunity to take in all the experiences that come with living in a new country."