Shane Jennings has this afternoon announced his decision to retire from Leinster Rugby and professional rugby at the end of the current season.
Shane Jennings, who will captain Leinster on Friday on the occasion of his 204th Leinster cap, will become the third most-capped Leinster player when he leads the team out at the RDS against Zebre and is behind only Leo Cullen and Gordon D’Arcy.
Jennings made his Leinster senior debut against Glasgow Warriors in September 2002 in a 25-21 loss away from home in the Celtic League and has since gone on to win seven major trophies with Leinster, including three Heineken Cups, three Celtic League titles and an Amlin Challenge Cup.
He also spent two seasons with Leicester Tigers and won the English Premiership in 2007. In his time with the Tigers he won 60 caps in total, scoring 12 tries.
Jennings was also capped 13 times by Ireland, scoring one try, and made his last appearance against Scotland in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.
To date this season he has played six times for Leinster in the GUINNESS PRO12, scoring two tries, one against Connacht and another against Munster.
Speaking at the RDS today, the 33-year-old flanker said: “(Retiring) has been on my mind for a while to be honest. The last couple of weeks probably solidified my decision.
“It’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve certainly taken my time to think about it, think about all the options, think about what I’m probably going to leave behind.
“There’s a number of reasons. My body is battered and bruised, but thankfully it’s not too bad. I’ve kind of been preparing myself over the last number of years with IRUPA through educational programmes and mentor programmes, and I’ve got a lot of assistance and a lot of help over the last few years to prepare myself for this. I’m very grateful that I’m going out on my terms.
“I’m very grateful that I’ve been part of such a great province, such a great team. It’s been good times. But thankfully I’m confident I’ve made the right decision. I’m prepared, and I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life.”
Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor was alongside Jennings at the media briefing and had this to say about his time working with the St Mary’s College clubman: “It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the last two season. I don’t think think there’s been a bigger contributor to the success of the organisation over the last few years.”