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Flowing-locked Szarzewski follows France captain Dusautoir into Test retirement

The Racing 92 hooker joins the likes of Michalak, Papé and Mas in international retirement.

RACING 92 HOOKER Dimitri Szarzewski has announced his retirement from Test rugby at the age of 32.

Conor Murray and Rory Best tackled Dimitri Szarzewski Szarzewski carries the ball against Ireland in Paris in 2014. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 83-times capped front row follows France captain Thierry Dusautoir, grizzled prop Nicolas Mas, controversial lock Pascal Papé and mercurial out-half Frédéric Michalak in calling time on their international careers following this year’s World Cup.

Toulouse legend Guy Novès has taken over from Philippe Saint-André as head coach of les Bleus in the wake of the hugely disappointing performance at the global tournament and will have to plan without those experienced names.

Szarzewski made his France debut in 2004 against Canada, going on to help his nation to three Six Nations titles, with the 2010 victory seeing the French complete a Grand Slam. The hooker also played in three World Cups, featuring off the bench in the 2011 final defeat to New Zealand.

Having missed out on involvement in the Six Nations earlier in the year, Szarzewski featured twice during the 2015 World Cup.

Dimitri Szarzewski The hooker will focus on his career with Racing 92. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s the end of a cycle, a new start,” Szarzewski told Rugbyrama. “The France team must do without me in the future. Young talents are coming through, and to prepare ideally for the 2019 World Cup, they need to play in the 2016 Six Nations.

“It has been an honour and a source of pride to represent my country and wear the French jersey 83 times.”

French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique has reported that France’s first-choice World Cup hooker, Guilhem Guirado, will be installed as les Bleus‘ captain in place of the retired Dusautoir.

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Murray Kinsella

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