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    Cullen set to announce retirement



    All Black great Christian Cullen is set to announce his retirement from all levels of rugby.


    Cullen, 31, signed with Irish province Munster in 2003 and has played through four injury-affected seasons at the European powerhouse.


    Munster are not going to offer Cullen an extension and there is a massive disincentive for him to come back and take up an NPC contract.


    "He's contemplating what he's going to do at the end of the year," manager Dave Monnery told the Herald on Sunday, "but it is very unlikely that he will come back here and play."


    There is a sound financial reason bolstering his case for retirement, even though at the age of 31 he could feasibly have another two or three years left in the game at a high level.


    The Irish Government has tax relief incentives for sportspeople who retire from their sport in Ireland, enabling them to claim a rebate of 40 per cent of all tax they paid there over a maximum 10-year period.


    "If he [Cullen] plays anywhere else he waives all rights to those incentives," Monnery said.


    Cullen's initial three-year contract was estimated at €250,000 a year, of which Cullen would have been paying close to €100,000 ($185,000) in tax each year. The one-year extension he signed last year was not believed to have been as lucrative, but it is thought Cullen will still be entitled to a six-figure rebate.


    Even if he were to pick up a big NPC contract it would not be worth it as Cullen would have to pay back his rebate.


    Even taking money out of the equation, retirement has been on the cards for Cullen for some time.


    Monnery said Cullen was close to quitting when the three-year deal ran out, but was convinced to come back for one more year.


    A succession of injuries, most notably to his knee and shoulder, has robbed Cullen of some of his magic and he only sporadically showed the Munster faithful the skills that marked him as the finest fullback of his generation and one of the finest attacking players of all time.


    He was the target of a few boo-boys when the Irishmen were knocked out of the Heineken Cup competition by Llanelli at the quarterfinal stage this month.


    Monnery said that he was still talking to Munster but in all likelihood Cullen will retire.


    "If I was a betting man I'd say he'll pack it in at the end of the year," Monnery said.


    That will draw the curtain on the career of perhaps the greatest try-scoring machine in rugby.


    For the All Blacks he scored a record 46 tries in 58 tests and he is third on the list of tries scored in Super rugby with 56 from 85 games, behind Doug Howlett and Joe Roff.


    His tries-per-game ratio for the All Blacks - a try every 1.21 tests - is unmatched, although Joe Rokocoko (sitting on 35 from 39) will almost certainly challenge it.


    At his peak, between 1996 and 2001, Cullen was the most dangerous broken-field runner the game had seen and he had an unparalleled ability to score tries from long distance, the best of which was a 70-metre effort against Australia at Carisbrook in 1997.


    With wingers Jeff Wilson and Jonah Lomu, he formed a devastating back three.


    However, in many ways Cullen became a victim of circumstance, never playing fullback at a World Cup.


    In 1999 the selectors made, in hindsight, a blunder in switching Wilson to fullback, where he was largely ineffectual, and Cullen to centre, effectively emasculating two of their most dangerous weapons.


    Then in 2001 he suffered a serious knee injury that robbed him of his explosive acceleration.


    Add to that the fact that All Black coach John Mitchell was no great Cullen fan and he never made the trip to Australia (though somehow Ben Blair and Ben Atiga did).


    "Christian was a bloody great rugby player, but that is the past. We look at current form," Mitchell said when dropping the bombshell that Cullen wasn't

    #2
    Sad to read this tbh.

    Comment


      #3
      He's still talking to Munster though.
      I'd love to see him play for us next year.
      With Carney on his wing the "boo-boys" would soon be singing a different tune.
      Heard a rumour last night though that he was talking to Sarries.

      Hibernicis natione, Mumhan per gratiam Dei

      Comment


        #4
        retire, leave ireland, get the tax refund, change mind, sign for Sarries. that's what i'd do if i were him.
        <a href=\"http://www.xboxlc.com/profile/Ruck_You\" target=\"_blank\">
        http://www.xboxlc.com/cards/sig/default/Ruck%20You.jpg
        </a>

        If you’re fat stay in the ruck - Liam Toland

        Comment


          #5

          Originally posted by Ruck
          retire, leave ireland, get the tax refund, change mind, sign for Sarries. that's what i'd do if i were him.
          Cunning as a fox.

          Comment


            #6





            Such excitement when it was announced that he was coming to Munster.
            Anybody who sees a psychiatrist would want their head examined.*&nb sp;Henry Ford

            Comment


              #7
              He'd be chased forever more for the rebate. You know what the revenue are like.

              Comment


                #8


                Originally posted by Point
                He'd be chased forever more for the rebate. You know what the revenue are like.




                Especially their newest employee! [img]smileys/biggrin.gif[/img]
                New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Indeed. [img]smileys/rolleyes.gif[/img]

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Old Dog


                    Originally posted by Point
                    He'd be chased forever more for the rebate. You know what the revenue are like.




                    Especially their newest employee! [img]smileys/biggrin.gif[/img]


                    New job?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      He could sign for the Scarlets?

                      I'm sure we wouldn't refuse [img]smileys/biggrin.gif[/img]
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                      Comment


                        #12
                        What are the chances of him sticking around in a coaching capacity?

                        I heard he was doing a good bit on that side of things this year (he's supposed to be the one encouraging the backs to throw the ball around like Leinster)

                        "If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards - checkmate!" Zapp Brannigan

                        Comment


                          #13

                          Originally posted by huron
                          He's still talking to Munster though.
                          I'd love to see him play for us next year.
                          With Carney on his wing the "boo-boys" would soon be singing a different tune.
                          @@@@SPAN style="font-weight: bold;">Heard a rumour last night though that he was talking to Sarries@@@@/SPAN>.
                          Heard that too - but he'd be mad too. If he could coach here for another yr or two so be it - he might be able to pass on the knowledge. Biffing it up in the GPL? He wouldn't be able for it physically, and Gaffers would be taking a huge gamble!
                          Trust is good; control is better. V I Lenin.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            i

                            Comment


                              #15

                              Originally posted by masterchief
                              What are the chances of him sticking around in a coaching capacity?

                              I heard he was doing a good bit on that side of things this year (he's supposed to be the one encouraging the backs to throw the ball around like Leinster)
                              And look where it got you. It's time for him to retire from playing, his body isn't up to it anymore.

                              Comment

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