After ten years as a mainstay in the Irish rugby team, winger Denis Hickie has announced he will retire after this year’s World Cup.
Disco Den will bring an end to his glittering career after no doubt picking up a few more caps in the tournament in France.
He currently holds a joint-record of 29 caps, along with captain Brian O’Driscoll. This is a testament to the teamwork and individual skill of Hickie, who has perhaps not won the silverware his prowess deserves.
Regular injuries are the reason for this frustration, but Hickie’s determination ensured he always bounced back, without losing any of his pace or power.
Of course, it isn’t all frustration. Denis Hickie was part of the Ireland squad that won the Triple Crown in 2006 and he has enjoyed phenomenal success for Leinster – averaging a try in every second game during his 130 appearances.
Announcing his decision, Denis Hickie said: “I have had a very enjoyable and fulfilling career as a professional rugby player.
“This is not a decision I have come to hastily and I am content that it is the right thing for me to do and that I am doing it at the right time.
“Now my focus is entirely on doing everything I can to help Ireland win the Rugby World Cup.”
Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan paid tribute to Hickie, saying: “I think Denis will be remembered as one of the great wingers of Irish rugby.
“I first came across him when I was coaching the Ireland U21 side and he has always been the consummate professional, as is reflected in his performances with Ireland.
“I wish him every success in his retirement, but not before he has a major impact with us at the World Cup.”
Denis Hickie made his first appearance for Ireland ten years ago against Wales, when his amazing pace led to a marvellous debut try.
Here’s hoping his final game for Ireland (in the World Cup final perhaps?) will be marked the same way.