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Bastareaud announces Test rugby retirement

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Bastareaud quits Test rugby following his France World Cup snub

Mathieu Bastareaud took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce his Test level retirement a day after he was omitted from the France squad for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. 

Bastareaud had fully expected to be selected for the finals in the Far East, arranging a loan switch to Rugby New York from Toulon that would only commence at the end of the tournament. 

However, despite featuring heavily in the recent Six Nations, the bulldozing French midfielder has now become surplus to requirement for coach Jacques Brunel, who decided he doesn’t need the 30-year-old with 54 caps to his name.   

“The road has not always been easy but wearing this jersey has been my greatest pride, and representing my country, my family, an honour,” wrote Bastareaud on social media.  

“I am happy, grateful and proud to have achieved this kid’s dream. It is time for me to turn the page… I wish good luck to my team-mates for this beautiful event that awaits them.”

Bastareaud bounced back from controversy in New Zealand early in his Test career to guide the French to the 2010 Six Nations Grand Slam, and he had been a loyal servant since then despite their declining results under a series of coaches who had failed to impress at international level.  

Brunel, who will hand the coaching reins to Fabien Galthie at the end of the finals in Japan, could not find a place for Bastareaud in his 31-man squad. Neither did he include him in a supplementary six-strong list of standby players.  

The 19-stone midfielder recently visited New York and quickly became quite the tourist in his new temporary home, sharing photos of Central Park, Grand Central Station and Times Square. The short-term signing of the Frenchman is viewed as a breakthrough deal for rugby in America. 

WATCH: The RugbyPass show, Don’t Mess With Jim, hears former Scottish lock Hamilton predict Bastareaid ‘is going to kill people over there” in MLR

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Bastareaud quits Test rugby following his France World Cup snub