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French International Forced Into Shock Retirement

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Sep 7, 2022

New Zealand born French international Virimi Vakatawa announced that he has been forced to retire from the game with immediate effect.

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In what is a devastating blow for the 30-year-old and his club Racing92 as well as the French national side, Vakatawa revealed that he has been diagnosed with a serious heart condition.

Winning 32 Test Caps for his adopted home country having arrived from Fiji at the age of 17, Vakatawa has risen through the ranks to become one of the very centres in the game.

On Monday it was announced that he had been banned from playing by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby’s medical committee.

Speaking about the heart-breaking moment he found out that he would no longer be eligible to play in France, Vakatawa said.

“I didn’t feel any symptoms or anything,” said the New Zealand-born Parisian club legend who arrived in France from Fiji as a teenager.”

“I had a discussion with the doctor. I have nothing broken; everything is fine. I’m going to stay not far from here, just to clear my head.”

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“I arrived at 17, I didn’t regret leaving my family at all. I know it was hard. I always tell young people that they were lucky to be here.”

“There are Fijians who will still arrive, I want to help them. I really appreciated having so many people by my side.”

Confirming the reasons for his retirement, Racing92 doctor Sylvain Blanchard announced that “He must stop his career in France for cardiological reasons. A cardiac anomaly had been detected before the 2019 World Cup in Japan. This anomaly, which is not linked to rugby, has been monitored but it is an evolving pathology. The risk has become too great.”

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