Ireland and Ulster wing Andrew Trimble has announced this season will be his last before retiring from rugby.
The 33-year-old finishes his illustrious career with 70 caps and 17 tries for his country – 32 of those appearances coming in the NatWest 6 Nations.
Trimble scored on his Championship debut, coming off the bench against France in 2006 but his star turn was to come in the 2014 Championship.
The wing ran in three tries in the five games as Joe Schmidt’s side took the title on points difference from England – including a key score in their dramatic late win over France.
That led to him being named the Irish Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year for 2014 while he also appeared in his country’s first-ever win over New Zealand in Chicago, November 2016.
And in an open letter, the winger paid tribute to the support that has carried him through a glittering career.
“I know that I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have realised not one of my dreams, but two of them; to play for Ulster and to play for Ireland,” he said.
“These have been some of the most fulfilling days of my life and I feel nothing but gratitude for them.
“But there’s no way of stopping time – and I see that each day in the lives of my two young children, who are now close to beating me over five metres.
“So I wanted to let you know that this will be my last season playing professional rugby.
“I want to thank the club for allowing me the time and space to think things through before making what is probably the toughest decision that any professional sportsman will make.
“Most of all, I want to thank you – the loyal and dedicated supporters of this special club.
“I know that nothing will come close to the experience of taking the field and hearing you raise your voices in support of the team. You stood up for me; I only hope that I stood up for you.”
Shane Logan, Ulster’s Chief Executive, added: “I’d like to thank Andrew for his wonderful service to rugby in Ulster over the past 13 years. He has been an inspiration for so many young players across the Province, due to his uncompromising playing style but also his kind nature and infectious personality.
“I know that he will continue to support Ulster in the years ahead and I wish him well in the years ahead.”