Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Dppi/Stephane Allaman France's Virimi Vakatawa.
# Calling Time
France international Vakatawa forced to retire due to heart defect - club doctor
The 30-year-old’s problem had surfaced prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

FRANCE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE Virimi Vakatawa has been forced to call time on his rugby career due to a heart defect, said the doctor of his Top 14 team Racing 92 on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Fiji-born player’s problem had surfaced prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup revealed Sylvain Blanchard at a press conference on Tuesday.

Vakatawa had not featured in Racing’s season opener on Saturday, a 25-19 win over Castres, and on Monday the club had announced his career was over for unspecified medical reasons.

Blanchard added the necessary detail on Tuesday.

“He has to finish his career in France due to a cardiological problem,” said Blanchard.

“A heart defect was detected before the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

“This defect which was not connected to rugby, has been constantly kept under observation but it is progressively deteriorating.”

The club indicated on Monday that the LNR, which runs professional rugby union in France, had played a role.

Vakatawa, capped 32 times, has not played since France’s 20-15 victory in Japan in July.

His last club game was Racing’s 20-13 loss to La Rochelle in the European Champions Cup semi-final in May.

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Vakatawa’s campaign in the 2021/22 season was interrupted by injuries, particularly to the knee.

He was not part of the France team that won the Six Nations Grand Slam last season.

– © AFP 2022

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