Younger members of the Ulster squad will miss the advice Jean Deysel would give them at Kingspan Stadium, assistant coach Dan Soper has revealed..
The South African backrow announced on Wednesday morning he would be retiring with immediate effect.
Soper said a culmination of lower-limb injuries had contributed to Deysel arriving at his decision.
In addition to representing Ulster, the 33-year-old had stints with the Lions and the Sharks in his homeland, as well as short spells with Toyota Verblitz and Munster.
At the weekly pre-match briefing ahead of Ulster facing the Dragons on Friday night in the Guinness PRO14, Soper said everyone involved was sorry to see him go.
“In the short time I have been here, Jean has been a wonderful professional and he is great to talk to.
“I have had a number of conversations with him about the breakdown and he is such a good jackler over the ball.
“So from chatting to him and talking to the young guys, they learn off him.
“He was always willing to help and share information, and maybe he hasn’t been able to contribute as much on the pitch as he would have liked, he has always been there for the young guys post-session or giving them a bit of feedback.
“He is a real gentleman Jean off the pitch, although it might be hard to think that in how he plays!
“But he will be missed around the place and yeah, it is disappointing when someone’s career finishes in those circumstances.
In a statement from Ulster Rugby, Deysel said: “Looking back over the last 15 years, there were some highs, some lows, a good couple of laughs, and a few tears as well, but the thing that made the journey worthwhile is the people I met along the way.
“2018 will be the end of my rugby career, but also the start of a new journey off the field.
“I would like to firstly thank the Lord Jesus Christ for blessing me with the ability to play and then secondly my family and close friends, the Lions and Sharks franchises, teammates and coaches over the past 15 years for their support, encouragement and motivation.
“We really enjoyed our time in Belfast and it will always be our home away from home. I want to thank Ulster Rugby for giving me the opportunity to represent this proud Province. I am taking back many memories to cherish and will definitely miss the support and friendliness of the fans since our arrival in Belfast.”
Ulster’s Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham, added:“It is always sad when a player retires and this time is no different. Jean is someone who is not only hugely respected by the players and staff here at Ulster Rugby, but more widely across the rugby world.
“He can rightly be proud of what he’s achieved in a memorable career, during which he played at the highest level. Jean’s abrasive style of play was great to watch and he will be remembered as being a warrior on the pitch.
“Off the pitch, Jean has remained humble and respectful of others, key characteristics we hold in such high regard within the Ulster Rugby culture, and has been a pleasure to work with. He is a very popular member of the squad and his presence will definitely be missed.
“On behalf of everyone at Ulster Rugby, I’d like to wish Jean, Cindi and Zanru all the best for the future.”