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30-times capped Ireland centre Paddy Wallace close to retirement call

The 34-year-old back has been struggling to recover from a long-term knee injury.

Wallace's intelligence allowed him to break down defences with his passing skills.
Wallace's intelligence allowed him to break down defences with his passing skills.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

ULSTER BACK PADDY Wallace is close to making a formal announcement of his retirement from playing, as he continues to struggle to recover from a serious knee injury.

The 34-year-old is awaiting a final specialist medical decision on the problem, although the outlook is far from positive. Wallace originally suffered the dreaded ruptured ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] in a RaboDirect Pro12 match against Glasgow in February of 2013.

It had initially been hoped that the 30-times capped Ireland international could make a full return after his rehabilitation period, and he did start for the province against Zebre last December.

However, a quad injury then saw him ruled out once again, and Wallace has not made an appearance for Ulster since. The initial ACL injury is believed to be the ongoing issue, with the ligament failing to strengthen despite extensive treatment.

Paddy Wallace Wallace's versatility has been to the benefit of Ireland and Ulster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Wallace first burst onto the national rugby scene as part of the Ireland side that won the U19 World Youth Championship in France. His attacking flair and creativity then saw the Ulsterman establish himself with his home province in the out-half and fullback positions.

His first international cap came in 2006, when Wallace appeared off the bench in the closing stages of the 32-15 victory over South Africa. The Ballymena RFC man went on to be part of the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cup squads, as well as contributing to 2009′s Grand Slam success.

A versatile back, Wallace settled in the 12 shirt in the latter years of his career, from where his subtle playmaking skills and passing range were best utilised. Ulster’s run to the Heineken Cup final in 2012 saw Wallace excelling in the inside centre position.

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Murray Kinsella

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