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Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Monday, 17 March 2008

Easterby quits international game

Simon Easterby
Simon Easterby was a first-half replacement against England

Simon Easterby has retired from international rugby just two days after winning his 65th cap for Ireland as a replacement against England.

The 32-year-old Llanelli Scarlets captain believes the time is right to walk away from the international stage.

"I've been extremely fortunate to play with some of the great players of Irish rugby and it has been a privilege to be involved with them," said Easterby.

"After eight years in the squad I now feel this is the time to step down."

The former British and Irish Lion, who turns 33 in July, played in every game of the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Six Nations championships and is Ireland's most capped back-row forward.

"I've enjoyed every minute of it but, with the demands on international rugby players these days, and with a young family, I feel this is the right time to move on to the next stage of my life.

"Over the next two years my main focus is on the Scarlets, where hopefully we can bring some success to the fans."

Easterby won his first cap against Scotland at Lansdowne Road in 2000 and continued success in an Ireland jersey saw him receive a call-up for the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand as a replacement for the injured Lawrence Dallaglio.

With Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell injured, he captained Ireland in the 2005 autumn series.

Easterby still has a two years to run on his Scarlets contract.

see also
O'Sullivan calm on Ireland future
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
England 33-10 Ireland
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union

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