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Leinster great Isa Nacewa to retire from rugby this summer

Ireland international Richardt Strauss will also retire next month while out-half Cathal Marsh and flanker Peadar Timmins have been released.

Isa Nacewa lifts RaboDirect PRO12 trophy Nacewa celebrates before leaving Leinster in 2013. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

ISA NACEWA WILL hope to bow out of rugby on a trophy-winning high, for a second time, next month when he retires from the game for good.

Leinster announced the impending departure of the 35-year-old Fiji-capped, Aucklander this morning. The news signals the end of Nacewa’s excellent second stint in Ireland after he returned from retirement and a role as Auckland Blues’ mental skills coach in 2015 to help lead Leo Cullen’s side on and off the field.

Arguably the finest overseas signing to grace Ireland’s provincial game, Nacewa first joined Leinster in 2008 and was a key component for both Michael Cheika and then Joe Schmidt as he attained three Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and a Pro12 title. The latter two trophies were claimed in the final matches before his initial retirement in 2013.

Isa Nacewa celebrates after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Joining Nacewa on the retirement path is Ireland international Richardt Strauss. The powerful South African-born hooker joined the eastern province from the Cheetahs in 2009, qualified for Ireland on residency grounds and won 17 Test caps.

Leinster unveiled six departures ahead of their awards ceremony this evening.

Along with Ulster-bound Jordi Murphy and the retired Jamie Heaslip, flanker Peadar Timmins and out-half Cathal Marsh have also been released by the province chasing a Champions Cup and Pro14 double. In a week where the future of Leinster’s other out-halves is under scrutiny, it will be intriguing to see where Marsh plays next.

Cathal Marsh Cathal Marsh in training this season. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“It is hard to articulate the impact that both Isa and Richardt have had on this club since their arrival,” said Leo Cullen, who has been captain, forwards coach and head coach to both players.

Warriors on the pitch and wonderful men off it, they are, in my opinion, two of the best players to have ever worn the blue jersey. Their impact on this group of players will be felt for years to come.

“We will also say goodbye this evening to Peadar and Cathal who have come through the Leinster pathway and are two great examples of that route and the success that can be had if you apply yourself in the right way. I wish them all the very best of luck in their future endeavours.”

Leinster Rugby – Departees 2017/18:

1. Jamie Heaslip, 12 British & Irish Lions Caps, 95 Ireland Caps, 229 Leinster Caps, 30 Tries
2. Cathal Marsh, 26 Leinster Caps, 2 Tries
3. Jordi Murphy, 20 Ireland Caps, 104 Leinster Caps, 17 Tries
4. Isa Nacewa, 1 Fiji Cap, 182 Leinster Caps, 47 Tries
5. Richardt Strauss, 17 Ireland Caps, 154 Leinster Caps, 12 Tries
6. Peadar Timmins, 12 Leinster Caps

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Sean Farrell

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