Ulster and Ireland’s Henry announces immediate retirement

Former Ireland flanker Chris Henry announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

Former Ireland flanker Chris Henry announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

Henry was a star performer during Ireland’s 2014 Six Nations success – starting all five games on their way to the Championship crown.

The 34-year-old, however, has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, his last cap for his country coming during the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to Argentina.

The back-row forward, currently enjoying a testimonial year at Ulster, outlined in an open letter that his decision has been made ‘for the wellbeing of myself’.

In all, Henry represented Ulster on 184 occasions, with his last appearance coming against Scarlets in September this year.

He made his debut for Ireland in a Test against Australia in June 2010 and went on to earn 24 caps.

“I am incredibly proud to be a one-club man, and I want to thank Ulster for giving me the chance to achieve my dream,” he said.

“The honour of putting on the white and green jerseys is something I will always cherish. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have travelled all around the world doing what I love.

“I want to thank every team I have been part of along the way – from Malone minis, to my schoolboy rugby at Wallace, senior rugby at both Ballymena and Malone, to Ulster and Ireland.

“I take joy in the fact my first and last game of rugby has been for Malone – 29 years apart!

“Like any rugby career, there has been setbacks and knocks, however, the incredible highs will forever outweigh the lows. Thank you to all the coaches, players, physiotherapists, doctors, back-room staff and fans that kept the faith in me. “

Bryn Cunningham, Ulster’s Operation Director, added: “Chris has been a fantastic ambassador for Ulster Rugby and represents all of what we stand for as an organisation.

“As a proud Ulster man, not only has Chris given everything for the shirt but he has also added real value to the local community. From the relationship he has with our supporters, to coaching at Malone RFC, to his charity work; he has given back more than he has got out of the game.

“Chris has been a great player and a superb leader, who has supported the development of younger players in our squad.

“He has overcome significant setbacks throughout his career and that is testament to his strength of character.

“On behalf of everyone at Ulster Rugby, I’d like to wish Chris and Jade all the best as they embark on this exciting new chapter in their lives. We look forward to welcoming them back to Kingspan Stadium as a family in the near future.”