Ireland forward Victor Costello has announced he will retire from competitive rugby at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old, who has not featured in the current RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign, made his international debut against the USA in 1996 and went on to win 39 caps for his country.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: ''Victor Costello has enjoyed an incredible sporting career of which rugby has played a huge part.
"He was one of the most talented athletes in world rugby and played a big part in the recent success of the national team, none more so than in the Rugby World Cup in 2003. I wish him every success in his future career plans.''
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.