Italy's google-wearing fly-half McKinley retires

Ian McKinley made his Italy debut in 2017
Ian McKinley made his Italy debut in 2017 ANDY BUCHANAN AFP/File
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Paris (AFP)

Italy fly-half Ian McKinley announced his retirement for the second time on Monday after also doing so a decade ago because of eye damage suffered in a game.

Former Ireland U20s playmaker McKinley, 31, returned to the sport in 2014 in the Italian third-tier wearing special goggles before featuring nine times for the Azzurri between November 2017 and August 2019.

"By helping to bring into law the worldwide use of Rugby Goggles, it has been an incredible joy to see thousands of other visually impaired players enabled to play rugby. This will always give me an enormous sense of achievement and pride," he posted on Instagram.

"I'd like to thank my amazing wife, family and friends who have lifted me up in my darkest days and have supported me unconditionally throughout my playing career," he added.

McKinley was a free agent after being released by Treviso last year. He also had playing spells with home province Leinster and Viadana, and Zebre in Italy.

In 2019 he released a documentary called Look Beyond about his efforts to legalise the eyewear for rugby.