Ireland's British & Irish Lions back Jared Payne retires to become coach

A bang against the Chiefs while playing for the Lions has forced Jared Payne to retire. Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland, Ulster and British & Irish Lions utility back Jared Payne has been forced to retire after being unable to recover from a head injury sustained on the Lions' tour of New Zealand last year and will take up a coaching role with the Irish province.

Payne, who played 20 Tests for Ireland and 78 times for Ulster, has failed to return following a bang to the head against Super Rugby side the Chiefs during last summer's tour.

"It's been a good ride but unfortunately every good thing has to come to an end. Playing rugby has taken me to places I never thought I'd see and allowed me meet people I never thought I'd meet," Payne said.

"I would like to thank all of the medical professionals who have supported me since my injury occurred back in June last year. I'm extremely grateful for your considerable care and attention.

"While I will undoubtedly miss the buzz of running out with mates every weekend, I have to listen to the medical advice and unfortunately give up the dream. However, I've surprised myself how much I have enjoyed coaching and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into this role on a permanent basis."