Friday 25 May 2018

Shane Jennings ready to leave the big Leinster stage

Leinster's Shane Jennings. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Leinster's Shane Jennings. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

"We all got it comin." - William Munny, Unforgiven.

This Clint Eastwood character in the western which won Best Picture at the 1993 Oscars was talking about the end of life.

Leinster and Ireland openside Shane Jennings yesterday announced his retirement from rugby life at the end of this season without the brouhaha gifted to others of his ilk last season.

"Listen, I'm no Brian O'Driscoll. I'm no Leo Cullen. There's not going to be the big send-off," he said.

The straight-talking 33-year-old and now forwards coach Cullen have been credited with the transition in culture change which they took home from their two seasons at Leicester Tigers from 2005 to 2007.

Read More: Leinster star Shane Jennings announces his retirement

Jennings will captain Leinster tonight on the occasion of his 204th cap.

He has always been his own man, never slow to confront an issue, always keen to say it as he sees it.

"Am I a loner, am I?" he joked, turning to his coach Matt O'Connor yesterday.

It is closer to the truth to simply point out that he is one of the last of his generation to leave the stage.

"I think there is definitely a generation gap in terms of the guys who have come through.

"Your closer friends have moved on," said the three-time European Cup winner.

"The thing that encourages me is, I've seen guys like Rhys (Ruddock), guys like Jack McGrath, who have had that talent, but have also have that edge and that desire."

He has come to accept that the new generation is different, not better or worse, just different.

"When lads are on their phone 24 hours a day tweeting things and putting stuff on Instogram, I know I'm a little different to them.

"If that's what people are doing, that's great.

"If everybody was like me, it would be pretty boring."

And so another legacy builder will ride into the sunset. Not just yet.

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