Ferocious Georgian forward Viktor Kolelishvili has been forced into an early retirement at the age of 30 after losing a two-year fight to regain his fitness.

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Viktor ‘Vito’ Kolelishvili last played for Clermont in October, 2018. The Tbilisi born took a two-year break from the game in an attempt to recover from multiple concussive injuries but unfortunately was not able to return to professional rugby.

The 6’4, 106kg flanker was known across Europe for his confrontational style of play, big hits and tendency to find himself on the wrong side of the referee.

He infamously pushed referee Wayne Barnes, who was too close to the defensive line, during a European Champions Cup between the Clermont and the Ospreys in 2016.

While his career with Clermont was a high point on a club level, his half-century of appearances for the Georgian national team will be what Kolelishvili will be most fondly remembered for. His distinctive hairstyle made him standout, as did his discipline. He received eight yellow cards during his ten years of service for The Lelos on the international stage.

Dato Sandroshvili wrote on Twitter: “He was probably one of the last remaining old school Georgian rugby players. Desperately sad to see his career cut short by injury.”

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