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'Fantastic competitor' Vito hints he will 'probably' soon retire

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

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Double All Blacks World Cup winner Victor Vito has suggested he is poised to retire from playing at the age of 35. Capped on 33 occasions by his country, including ten appearances at the 2011 and 2015 finals, the back-rower is nearing the end of his sixth season in France with La Rochelle where he is held in the highest regard. 

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However, that admired reputation might not be enough for him to extend his time at the ambitious Top 14 club he joined in 2016 following eight Super Rugby seasons with the Hurricanes.

Following the progress of La Rochelle to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup, where their aggregate win over Bordeaux has now earned them a home tie versus Montpellier, the club held its monthly player interview media session on Tuesday where it was revealed by Vito that he is contemplating hanging up his boots.      

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Suggesting that he will “probably stop his career”, Vito explained to French media: “I want to help my wife more to raise our three children.”

It was earlier this month when new La Rochelle assistant coach Donnacha Ryan, the ex-Ireland second row, outlined to RugbyPass the favourable impression Vito, one of the club’s co-captains, had made on him during his transition from player to coach following his own retirement last summer from playing at Racing 92. 

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Such a fantastic guy, a great player, always training looking to get better, always wants to help out guys,” said Ryan. “It’s really fantastic to see a guy work like that and it’s pleasing as well because you know guys back in Ireland are doing pretty much the same thing as he does and he has won two World Cups.

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“So it’s great to know that Ireland has come a long way and great that a world-class guy has come over and has kept his good behaviours from when he was a young guy. A big thing is you can come over to France and take it easy, but you have to be ambitious and if it’s in your DNA that’s it – he’s a fantastic competitor.” 

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