Chris Henry, the Ulster and Ireland flanker in an open letter announcement on 5th November stated that he is retiring from the playing rugby with immediate effect.
Henry is in his ceremonial year where he marks playing ten seasons with Ulster rugby. He made his debut with Ulster in 2009 against Harlequins and had his last appearance with the team in September against the Scarlets. Henry has made 184 Ulster appearances in his career with the team.
Henry also featured as a flanker for his national side, Ireland. He made his debut with the national side in a Test against Australia in June 2010 and has earned 24 caps in has time with the team.
Henry did, however play with Malone RFC, Wallace HS and Ballymena rfc in his earlier days before he got provincial and international honours.
At the age of 34, Henry has made a public notice that it is time to hang up his boots on health grounds. Earlier in 2014, Henry did suffer a mini stroke on the morning of the Ireland test against South Africa which saw him four days in the hospital. It was discovered he had a hole in his heart. This major health issue coupled with a calf injury among others have certainly had their toll on the star. In an open letter Henry wrote:
“After a great deal of thought and in-depth discussions with family and friends, I believe that now is the right time to retire from the game I love. No matter how much I would love to finish the season with this talented group, my career has taken its toll physically, and so for the well being of myself, my loving wife and my family, I will be retiring immediately.
“It’s impossible to thank everyone who has contributed to my career in this short letter, but allow me to make a start.
“I am incredibly proud to be a one-club man, and I want to thank Ulster for giving me the chance to achieve my dream. The honor of putting on the white and green jerseys is something I will always cherish. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have traveled all around the world doing what I love.
“Like any rugby career, there has been setbacks and knocks, however the incredible highs will forever outweigh the lows. Thank you to all the coaches, players, physiotherapists, doctors, back-room staff and fans that kept the faith in me.
“The heart and soul of rugby is teamwork, and I have had some incredible teammates over the years. To have lost Nevin Spence at such a young age had a huge impact on me and so many others. He was a source of inspiration and I have always tried to do the club proud as he did. Ulster and Irish Rugby will always remember his legacy. It has been a privilege to witness the new generation of young Ulster players come through the ranks with bucket-loads of talent and an incredible work ethic. I truly believe success is not far away.
“I want to thank every team I have been part of along the way – from Malone minis, to my school boy rugby at Wallace, senior rugby at both Ballymena and Malone, to Ulster and Ireland. I take joy in the fact my first and last game of rugby has been for Malone – 29 years apart!
A huge thank you to my family for always being there for me. To my mum – this could never have happened without you. You and dad couldn’t have given me a better start in life and you have travelled across the world supporting me. To my brothers John and Daniel – thank you for always being my biggest fans and believing in me. We sadly lost our father William one month before my first Irish Cap but every time I put on the jersey I felt him with me. I take great happiness that he saw me lead Ulster out on many occasions and no doubt he would have enjoyed this incredible journey just as much as me. He was my best friend and we still miss him dearly.
“To my beautiful wife and soul-mate, Jade. Thank you for always supporting me during the ups and downs. I’m so excited to see what the future holds. Our family is soon to get slightly bigger and I can’t wait for this new adventure to begin!
“Finally, to the Ulster fans. Thank you for making the journey so special, and if you see me in the terraces on a Friday night, please come say hi!
Yours in rugby,
Ulster’s operation director responded to Henry’s retirement in honor and referred to him as a fantastic Ulster ambassador. “As a proud Ulster man, not only has Chris given everything for the shirt, but he has also added real value to the local community. From the relationship he has with our supporters, to coaching at Malone RFC, to his charity work, he has given back more than he has got out of the game.”
Henry is the third Ulster player to announce his retirement in recent weeks following Peter Browne and Jean Deysel.