Leinster and Ireland international back row Shane Jennings has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season. The 33 year old admitted the decision has been on his mind for a while and that it hasn’t been taken lightly.
Capped 13 times for Ireland between 2007 and 2012, Jennings has been a feature of the Leinster squad since 2002, with two seasons spent with the Leicester Tigers between 2005 and 07, a season that saw the Tigers win the English Premiership. With over 160 appearances for Leinster, Shane has been an integral part of one of Europe’s most successful club teams. During his time with Leinster he has won 3 Heineken European Cups, the Amlin Challenge Cup and 2 Pro 12 titles.
Jennings work ethic, his uncompromising, total commitment attitude and style has been pivotal in shaping the Leinster we know today. His influence over the next generation of stars at Leinster has been one of those perks that you just can’t buy. Jennings has been a true leader, within the squad, leading by example.
Comes seasons end in 2015, Leinster will have another pair of boots to fill. Where O’Driscoll’s absence has been centre stage for the rugby world, it is the gaps left by the likes of Jennings, an engine and driver of the team, that will often be missed more when they are gone, when people realise that though the limelight was absorbed more by others, it was those titans working in the shade and shadows that helped anchor the side and fashion wins in the face of defeat.
Jennnings’ playing, training and general mentality and commitment makes him an obvious choice for coaching but this is not the path that he wishes to walk. With an MBA and BA in Business, It would seem that his next adventure may be further from the playing field as many would wish for. However, one cannot begrudge the man for seeking new challenges. He is leaving it all on the field, as he always has.
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