MUNSTER HOOKER DAMIEN Varley has been forced to retire from rugby due to injury.
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce my premature retirement,” the 31-year-old said on Tuesday afternoon.
Capped three times by Ireland, Varley has battled a persistent foot injury since July 2013 and made just one appearance for Munster this season.
He went under the knife for surgery last October but after three more months of rehab work, he was advised by the surgeon to hang up his boots.
Varley enjoyed two stints at the province, briefly as a club player in 2006 and again following his return from Wasps at the start of the 2009/2010 season. He made 121 appearances, scoring 12 tries.
He said: “Like so many before me I will look back at my time in Munster with immense pride and fondness, not only for the sport, but for the people that I have played with, worked with and the friendships I have made.”
Varley first injured his left foot during a pre-season training session in July 2013 but went on to make 24 appearances that season, and won his third and final senior international cap against Argentina in June 2014.
“Following ongoing rehabilitation the hooker made his one and only appearance of the season as a replacement against Leinster in October,” Munster said.
“But ongoing persistent symptoms restricted his ability to train and play further, and he required surgery later that month.
“In rehabbing the injury for the next three months, exhausting all possibilities, Varley met with the surgeon in January for a consultation and the Clare man was advised to retire from rugby on medical grounds.”
More to follow.