Saturday 12 May 2007

Christian Cullen retires

Christian Cullen is one of the great 'what if' stories of the rugby world. Although he is widely regarded the world over as a fantastic player, the controversial decision by then All-Blacks coach John Mitchell to leave Cullen out of his 2003 world cup squad probably robbed the full-back of rugby legendary status. Cullen retires still holding the All-Black try scoring record of 46 tries in 58 test matches and returns home to New Zealand having spent the last 4 years playing for Munster. His time in Ireland has been plagued by injury and at the end of the day it was a simple decision for the Kiwi to retire

"I can't remember the last time my ankles and knees didn't ache. And at the back of my mind I'm always worried that I might be a tackle away from injuring the shoulder again. So, in the end, it's an easy decision to retire. I will miss a lot of things about the game but I can't sign a new deal knowing my body has had it.
I have loved every minute of my time in Ireland - apart from the injuries, the club and supporters have been terrific to me but I can't help feeling that I have let them down. When I signed in 2003 I felt like I could reproduce the type of performances I was able to put on for the All Blacks. But three shoulder operations put paid to that. Munster will always hold a special place within me. The toughest thing about retiring is walking away from Thomond Park. I just wish I could have done more for the club, my team-mates and Munster's great supporters."

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