Grand Slam winner Dan Leavy announces retirement

Dan Leavy celebrates winning 17/3/2018
Ireland Grand Slam winner Dan Leavy has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect aged 27 due to a knee injury.

Ireland Grand Slam winner Dan Leavy has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect aged 27 due to a knee injury.

Flanker Leavy scored three tries in 11 caps for his country without ever losing a game and was one of the outstanding players as Ireland claimed a first clean sweep for nine years in the 2018 Championship.

Leavy started four out of the five games that year having replaced 2022 Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship nominee Josh van der Flier in the opening win over France.

Antoine Dupont named 2022 Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship

Leavy then won the 2018 Heineken Champions Cup with Leinster before suffering a serious knee injury against Ulster in 2019 which sidelined him for 19 months.

He returned in October 2020 but just three months later required a further procedure which ended his season and after making seven appearances for Leinster in this campaign – his last match coming against Ulster in March – has hung up his boots on medical advice after scoring 17 tries in 79 appearances for his home province.

“I have done everything I can to come back from the knee injury I suffered in 2019 but unfortunately I can’t do any more or ask any more of my body,” said Leavy, who made his Ireland debut against Canada in November 2016.

“I’d like to thank Andy Williams, my surgeon, and Karl Denvir, my physio in Leinster, for all that they have done for me in the years since then. I can take solace from the fact that I tried everything over the last three years.

“From the early days in Old Belvedere to my time in St Michael’s College, all I wanted was to pull on a Leinster Rugby jersey. And then when you achieve that, it’s an Ireland jersey.

“I am very proud of all that I achieved in my short time as a professional.

2022 Guinness Six Nations Review

“Some amazing highs with my brothers in blue and in green and I am beyond grateful for those days and those moments especially the highs of 2018 in Bilbao, the Aviva Stadium and Twickenham.

“More than that I am proud of how I carried myself, in particular over the last few years, and I hope I represented my club, my country, my family and friends to the best of my abilities in those years. I am beyond grateful to them all for their support and in particular to my mum and dad, Eilish and Donal, my sister, Rachel, and my brother, Adam.

“I am also very grateful to Leo Cullen. Leo has been an unbelievable support to me over the last few years. On the field, and off, and I cannot thank him enough.

“Not many people get to enjoy and experience what I have over the last ten years representing my school, my club and my country.

“This is not the end I had hoped for, but as I look back, at the highs and the lows, they have all been shared with the best team-mates, family and friends around me, and what more could I ask for?”

Player of the Championship nominee: Josh van der Flier

Leavy’s coach at Leinster, Leo Cullen, added: “Dan was a player earmarked from an early age as a special talent and I think everyone could see that, particularly in those few years in and around 2017, ’18 and ’19, just how dynamic and destructive a player he could be with Leinster and with Ireland where he went on to achieve unprecedented success at that time.

“While the public have seen very little of Dan since his injury, we have seen plenty of him in here and we have seen the same determination, character and drive that marked him out on the pitch as one of the best.

“I have no doubt that he will apply himself with the same determination that we have seen since he first pulled on a Leinster jersey in 2014 and that he will make a success of himself away from the rugby fields.”