"No one gets to pick when they go out" - Flannery on retirements
You can't write you own ending.
For every fairytale ending like Brian O'Driscoll, a first win over France in Paris in 14 years (a game that marked his entry onto the international stage in 2000) and a Six Nations Championship to boot, there are countless others who never got that send-off.
This Rugby World Cup has been no different, with ignominious endings for the likes of Sergio Parisse and Kieran Read. Parisse never got his final, going-out-on-his shield performance against the All Blacks, while the New Zealand captain saw his side relinquish the Webb Ellis trophy with little more than a whimper against England.
But that's sport.
Players never know, going out onto a pitch, if that will be the last time they don the jersey. Particularly in a game as attritional as modern rugby, or as competitive, where fading into the background and never saying goodbye happens all too often.
Speaking on The JOEpan Rugby Show this week, former Munster and Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery was sympathetic for the likes of Read and Parisse, but noted that it's all part of the game;
"No one really gets to pick when they go out, you know? When people say... A lot of people were saying for Sergio Parisse, 'oh this is unfair that Parisse bows out like that' but, rugby is a game, it's a game and no one actually just says 'well if you play X amount of games then we give you this lovely send off where you win a trophy', it doesn't work out like that. Kieran Reade has had a phenomenal career, he's been incredible, as has Sergio Parisse, it just happens to be that this is where their international careers could finish."
Kieran Read was named at 8 to start in one last All Blacks game on Friday, he'll lead his side out to face Warren Gatland's Wales for the Bronze Final of the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo. Not everyone gets to write their own ending.
On this week's episode of The JOEpan Rugby Show, Rob O'Hanrahan and Jerry Flannery look ahead to the Wales v New Zealand Bronze Final of the 2019 World Cup, and talk through the mental batlle of losing a semi-final, as well as how players hurt the most out of anyone. WATCH below: