Georgia skipper Mamuka Gorgodze – arguably the greatest player in the country’s history – has announced his retirement from international rugby union.
The 32-year-old back-row forward, who represents Toulon in the Top 14, has opted to call time on his Georgia career as he feels he will be unable to shine at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
In a statement on the Georgia Rugby Union website, Gorgodze said: “I planned to finish my international career back in 2015 after the Rugby World Cup, but the team asked me to stay and I put retirement off for some time. But I never stopped thinking about it and finally this is what I am going to do.
“As I am getting older, I get tired and hurt much easier than before, and this will grow more noticeable with age.
“I was repeatedly offered to train exclusively for the World Cup, to join the team only for the key games, but this is not acceptable. The captain must always be with his team, to feel it and live with it, otherwise one is not a captain.
“The team might miss me, but nobody is irreplaceable. I decided to announce my retirement two years before the World Cup, just before the team enters the active preparation phase, so as not to cause any problems to the coaching staff.”
A veteran of four World Cups who holds the nickname ‘Gorgodzilla’, Gorgodze has scored a record 26 tries in 71 caps for Georgia.
Watch every game of the Lions Tour of NZ streaming live on rugbypass.com, home of the best online rugby coverage including news, highlights, previews & reviews, live scores, and more!