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France centre Virimi Vakatawa banned from playing in France

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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Racing 92 have announced that Test centre Virimi Vakatawa has been banned from playing rugby in France. The Parisian club confirmed the end of the 30-year-old’s lengthy playing career in France after he was banned by the LNR’s medical committee, but a specific reason for the ban wasn’t revealed.

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The club statement on Monday read: “Racing 92 has just been informed of the decision of the LNR’s medical committee to ban Virimi Vakatawa from continuing his professional career as a rugby player in France.

“Particularly saddened by this terrible announcement, Racing 92 gives its full support to Virimi Vakatawa and immediately put in place all the arrangements to support its emblematic player as best as possible in these particularly difficult times.”

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The New Zealand-born France international, who holds Fijian citizenship, earned the last two of his 32 caps this summer against Japan, starting at outside centre in both victories. That marked his return to the Test stage after over a year out due to injury.

While it looks as though Vakatawa is banned from playing in France for the time being, the statement suggested that he isn’t barred from playing elsewhere.

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The same thing happened to France hooker Christopher Tolofua, who was banned five years ago from representing his country due to a spinal problem while still being able to play for Saracens. However, the ban was lifted after surgery, resulting in him moving to Toulon.

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Vakatawa, the powerful centre. was missing from the Racing squad for their opening match of the Top 14 season on Saturday against Castres, which his side won 25-19. A press conference on Tuesday is expected to provide more details on this shock announcement and what the future holds for Vakatawa.

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