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Fitzpatrick hangs up boots

Ulster and Ireland prop Declan Fitzpatrick is to retire from rugby on medical grounds.

Ulster said that 31-year-old Fitzpatrick had "experienced a number of concussive episodes" in recent seasons, and his symptoms were "progressively slower to resolve".

Medics at the Guinness PRO12 province referred him to a neurologist, and after tests it was recommended it would be in Fitzpatrick's long-term interests to stop playing.

Fitzpatrick won seven caps for Ireland, the last of which was against New Zealand during the 2013 autumn Tests. He also made 98 Ulster appearances.

"While it is not an easy decision to hang up the boots, I can look back with fondness at nine fantastic seasons at Ulster Rugby," Fitzpatrick said.

"It was a huge honour to have represented my country and an enormous privilege to pull on that green shirt.

"I want to thank the medical teams at Ulster Rugby and the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) for the care that they have given me.

"My symptoms continue to improve, and I know the advice that I received is in the best interests of my long-term health."

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