Ulster Rugby announced this morning that Ireland International and Ulster rugby centre Jared Payne has been forced to retire due to a head injury sustained during the British and Irish Lions Tour last summer.Although a devastating end for the Kiwi native’s playing career, it has been confirmed that he has been appointed a defence coach with the province.
32-year-old Payne made twenty appearances for Ireland in his time and seventy-eight for Ulster. He started his playing career at Waikato in New Zealand in 2006 before due to limited game time he moved to Northland in 2008 where he spent three years, the last two of them as captain.In 2009, Payne was signed by the Crusaders, for whom he made 22 appearances in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2010 it was announced the Blues had signed him for the 2011 Super Rugby season.
Ulster Rugby signed Payne in 2011 and he made his debut in September against the Cardiff Blues however he sustained an Achilles tendon injury the following month which side-lined him for his first season. Payne returned the next season and became instrumental in the team make up in their Heineken Cup Quarter Final and Pro12 Finals campaign. He signed two further contracts with Ulster in 2013 and 2016 which was supposed to run till the end of this season. Payne continued to train with Ulster but had started assisting the Ulster coaching panel due to his inability to play on medical advice. He will officially start his new coaching role with Ulster next season and will gain further coaching experience this Summer when he joins the national coaching team for Ireland’s tour of Australia.
We wish Jared all the best in this new career!