Leinster coach Leo Cullen has paid tribute to Jamie Heaslip by singling out his attention to detail and his desire to continuously improve following the number eight's decision to retire from the game.

Heaslip had a second operation on the lower part of his back last November, but has failed to make the desired recovery and has made the decision to retire with immediate effect to ensure his "future well being".

Cullen, who played alongside Heaslip with Leinster, told’s the club’s website: "I remember first seeing Jamie in the Leinster Academy and knowing straight away that he had something very different about him, a confidence and a belief in what he was doing.

"It was in 2007 when I returned from a playing stint in England that my initial impression was confirmed - in the two years I was away, Jamie had become a mainstay of the Leinster team.  

"What separated Jamie was his attention to detail, his desire to continuously improve, his work rate and his fierce competitive instincts when he was on the field. Jamie wanted to win and that meant the standard of what his team mates was delivering had to get better also.

"His durability over the course of a long career was testament to how he lived his life"

"I don't think any Leinster fan, myself included, will forget his try in the 2009 Heineken Cup final against Leicester when he drove himself over the line with a little help from Shane Jennings, or his wrap around scoring pass to Johnny Sexton in the 2011 final, or his vital turnover on our own try line as Ulster were on the attack in the 2012 decider.

"When it came to the big occasions, Jamie somehow always delivered big moments.  

"His durability over the course of a long career was testament to how he lived his life as a professional athlete, and he managed to squeeze an incredible amount into the time he had as a rugby player."

Heaslip won 95 caps for Ireland after making his bow in 2006, winning three Six Nations titles, two Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam in 2009.

The 34-year-old played at two Rugby World Cups featuring in all 10 of Ireland's games at the 2011 and 2015 tournaments.

The abrasive back-rower enjoyed a decorated career with Leinster, winning three Heineken Cups, three Pro12 titles and European Challenge Cup in 2013.