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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Davidson forced to retire
By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport

Lions, Ireland and Ulster second-row Jeremy Davidson has retired from all forms of rugby.

Jeremy Davidson
Jeremy Davidson has decided to hang up his boots
Davidson's decision came on the back of his latest operation to repair damage to his left knee following a freak accident during a recent fishing trip.

After talking things over with his consultant, Davidson felt it would be better to hang up his boots.

The big Ulsterman, who turned 29 last Monday, has seen his career ravaged by injury since he made a rumbustious contribution to the Lions victory in South African back in 1997.

The injury was to the same knee that threatened his career six months after his return from the Lions tour.

''I am extremely gutted,'' Davidson told BBC Sport.

''To be honest there was no real decision to make. The knee was sufficiently deteriorated that there was nothing else I could do.

''If I had decided to play, it would have been detrimental to my future. I was told that I would not be able to function properly if I had continued as there would be no ligaments to protect the knee.

I might consider going into coaching as I feel I have a lot more give to the game.
Jeremy Davidson

''As for the future, I am undecided as yet. It's a bit early, but I would obviously like to continue in rugby.

''Once my knee has recovered sufficiently and I have done a lot of rehab, I will make a decision then.

''Now that my time in the game was cut short, I might consider going into coaching as I feel I have a lot more to give to the game.

''Career wise, though, I might go into teaching, maybe go back to university and study more.

''I'll cross that road when the time comes.''

Davidson had his left knee rebuilt after picking up an injury playing for London Irish, but it continued to trouble him regularly.

Davidson also had problems with his shoulder, thigh and a broken thumb in recent seasons which saw his time on the field limited.

DAVIDSON FACTFILE
Born: 28 April 1974
Education: Methodist College, University of Ulster
Career: Dungannon, London Irish, Ireland, Lions
Test Caps: 32 Ireland; 3 Lions

However, he bravely fought his way back into Ireland's international squad this season, although his last cap was against Scotland in the autumn of 2001.

The Belfast-born forward won the first of his 32 caps in Ireland's 44-8 victory over Fiji.

Davidson, who played for Ulster club Dungannon, moved to France in 1998 and spent three years with Castres who made him captain in his final season.

Davidson's latest problem occurred while he was on an angling trip when he slipped on grass and fell awkwardly.

His retirement is also a major blow to Ulster who have already lost Mark Blair to Narbonne and Justin Fitzpatrick to his former club Castres.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Jeremy Davidson
"There's just too much damage in my knee to carry on"


Ulster's Jeremy Davidson
"I have had a lot of ups and downs"


SEE ALSO
Davidson facing long lay-off
30 Apr 03  |  Irish
World Cup row escalates
01 May 03  |  Internationals
England at full-strength
29 Apr 03  |  Internationals

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