Ireland great O’Connell retires from rugby

Date published: February 9 2016

Ireland, British and Irish Lions and former Munster second row Paul O'Connell has retired from all rugby on medical advice.

It is obvious that the team will need to adjust to his absence, and we can already see the effects of this change on the odds of various games' betting odds, such as 888sport rugby. We wonder how this change will  affect these blogs' predictions.

O'Connell joined Toulon after the Rugby World Cup but has been unable to recover from the serious injury he suffered against France.

In a statement O'Connell said: "It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from professional rugby following medical advice.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Rugby Club Toulonnais for their understanding and support over the past few months.

"Since sustaining the injury at the World Cup I have been fully focused on returning to fitness and starting an exciting new chapter for both myself and my family in Toulon.  Unfortunately this will no longer be possible.

"I have been blessed to be a professional rugby player for over 14 years and to be part of Munster and Ireland teams that have experienced success.  I have played with some of the best players to ever line out in the red of Munster and the green of Ireland and have had the privilege of captaining my country.

"I would like to thank those at Young Munster RFC, Munster Rugby, the IRFU and Lions Rugby who have supported me over the course of my playing career.

"Special thanks must go to my wife Emily for her unwavering support through the good and the bad and to my parents Michael and Shelagh.

"Lastly I would like to thank everyone who has supported the teams I have been a part of.  The support you have shown me is humbling and an immense source of pride for both myself and my family."

O'Connell, regarded as one of the great locks of all time, played in 115 Tests – 108 for Ireland and seven for the Lions.