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Leinster's Kevin McLaughlin forced to quit after concussion

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster captain Kevin McLaughlin has become the second Ireland international to retire as a result of head injuries in five months.

The 31-year-old flanker's last appearance for his country came alongside Declan Fitzpatrick in the heartbreaking defeat to the All Blacks in 2013, but now both men have been forced to give up as a result of concussive episodes.

McLaughlin suffered his latest concussion in Leinster's season opener against Edinburgh and was referred to a leading neurologist due to what the province described as "concerns over his increasing susceptibility to concussion and the length of recovery".

He underwent tests and it was recommended that he end a glittering career that saw him win two Heineken Cups and eight Ireland caps. He was handed the role of captain before this season.

"It is upsetting and frustrating to have to retire when I feel I have so much left to give, but it is the right decision and I am glad that our medical staff were so proactive in encouraging me to see a neurologist and getting his expert opinion," McLaughlin said.

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"The support I have received from the club and my team-mates has been incredible and it will all help to soften the blow of having to retire from the game I love at a reasonably early age."

Tributes flowed in for McLaughlin yesterday, but from a rugby perspective his departure further stretches Leo Cullen's resources at a time when a huge chunk of his squad is away at the World Cup.

The province have also lost Wallaby second-row Kane Douglas, who returned to Australia last summer, and they are in the market for a replacement, with 33-year-old New Zealander Maori Hayden Triggs tipped to make the move over from Auckland.

Meanwhile, there is no further injury news to report from Ireland's training camp at St George's Park ahead of their second World Cup clash with Romania on Sunday, with Joe Schmidt expected to mix it up.

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