Munster have announced that current squad captain Doug Howlett will retire from professional rugby at the end of this season.
The decision was forced on the former All Black through injury sustained in the PRO12 game against Glasgow Warriors in the game played in Scotstoun at the end of March.
At that time, 34-year-old Howlett was in contract extension negotiations with Munster but hasn't been able to play since because of the shoulder injury he suffered in the course of scoring Munster's third try.
He underwent surgery in a Dublin hospital earlier this month and acting on medical advice will retire at seasons end.
Howlett joined Munster in January 2008 and played a key role in their European Cup success that season. He won his 100th cap in the October 2012 league game against Leinster and ends his Munster career as the all-time second leading try scorer with 35 tries after five and-a-half seasons.
He was nominated squad captain at the start of this season and became just the second overseas (Jim Williams the other) and the first back to achieve that honour.
Howlett has intimated that he will remain on in Cork, where he lives with his wife and three children, for the immediate future
Other departures from the current squad - besides Peter Stringer who remains with Bath, Marcus Horan who announced his retirement recently, Sean Scanlon (Rotherham Titans) and Sean Henry (Connacht) - include Scott Deasy and Christy Condon.