ULSTER MAY BE riding high as they look forward to their first Heineken Cup Final in 13 years but they will have to plan for the future without Simon Danielli.
The province confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the 32-year-old has decided to retire from rugby.
A spokesman revealed that the retirement was due to a back injury which has plagued the winger throughout this last season
Simon joined Ulster in 2007 from The Borders and was capped 78 times, scoring 26 tries in the process.
Danielli commented, “Having been advised that I am no longer able to achieve the level of fitness required to play professional rugby, it is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from the game.” He added:
I feel privileged to have been playing for over a decade and have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional rugby player, particularly my last five years here at Ulster.
Born in Edinburgh, Danielli signed with Bath after finishing up at Oxford University.
He made his full International debut for Scotland against Italy in 2003, ahead of the start of the World Cup. He has gone on to be capped 32 times by his country, playing in two World Cups and scoring eight tries.
The Scot showed glimpses of his talent during his five years at Ulster and memorable tries against Munster, Scarlets and Ospreys.
YouTube credit: TheUAFC
Danielli appeared twice for Scotland at the 2011 World Cup, making his final international appearance in a 16-12 loss to England. He commented:
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my time here, to all the players, coaches, other members of staff and not least the fantastic supporters at Ulster that rival anywhere else in Europe, creating an atmosphere that has given me many special lifelong memories.
“I wish the boys the very best of luck for the biggest of games next week and long into the future, the club is well on the path to becoming a leading force in European rugby and I will be in the stands cheering them towards this for years to come”