The Tamworth product took the field for his beloved Waratahs for the 106thand final time in Johannesburg on Saturday night ending a stellar Super Rugby career that started back in 2011.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 10 and to be able to do that has been truly amazing,” Ryan said.

He said there are “so many things to cherish” from his time in the sky blue.

“It’s truly been an honour. I’ve loved everything that comes with playing for your state,” the 29-year old said.

The Pirates junior admitted he was “pretty emotional” in the Ellis Park change rooms after the 44-26 semi-final loss to the Lions.

“There were a few tears and a couple of beers,” the tighthead prop said.

“The boys gave it their best over in Johannesburg.”

Being part of the Waratahs’ maiden Super Rugby triumph in 2014 is hard to go past as a highlight, but there have been many.

“Playing my 100th game at the SCG was pretty special,” he said.

“And making my debut against the Chiefs in 2011, that was pretty special.”

What the next chapter is, Ryan’s not sure yet. 

He is scheduled to have surgery on an injured thumb this week, and is hoping to lead the Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship, which kicks off in September and will see the Eagles playing games in Armidale and Tamworth.

NSW Rugby and NSW Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore paid tribute to Ryan noting the contribution he has made not only on the field but off it through his tireless work with NSW Rugby’s charity partner, Batyr.

“In Paddy Ryan we have a player who has been part of our set up for over a century of games, and that speaks volumes for his endurance and commitment to the state.,” Hore said.

“Paddy is very passionate about the game but also how he can make a difference off the rugby pitch as well, and that’s why he has been an important mentor and ambassador for Batyr.”

Ryan’s Waratahs team-mates also weighed in.

Kurtley Beale reflected on an association that started “all the way back at Joey’s in Year 9 in the dorms playing touch rugby”.

“I think one of the best things about you mate is you are still the same bloke you are when I first met you,” Beale said.

Half-back Nick Phipps expressed similar sentiments.

“Not only a great footy player but mate a fantastic bloke. Everyone here at the club loves you,” he said.