Sébastien Vahaamahina has decided retire from international rugby, just one day on from receiving a red card which played a major role in France’s World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Wales.
The France lock received a red card from referee Jaco Peyper, following a TMO review, for elbowing Aaron Wainwright in the face when France were leading 19-10 in early stages of the second half. Wales subsequently fought back to win 20-19.
And while Vahaamahina has come in for heavy criticism for his role in France’s defeat, some media outlets in France are reporting that the lock had decided before the World Cup that he would retire following the tournament, regardless of how far France advanced.
“The people impacted by this decision have known since this summer: Jacques Brunel, Franck Azéma, some players also,” Vahaamahina is reported as saying by Midi Olympique.
“I really wanted to do well and the desire to achieve the best match possible, the best competition possible and then stop… Maybe I wanted to do too well. My envy and my aggressiveness made me overflow.
“From now on, it’s time for me to have an arm surgery, as was the case when I returned from the World Cup. A cycle ends today, a page of my career is turning.
“I’m 28 years old and I can not wait to rebuild myself, physically and morally, to come back even stronger.”
Aaron Wainwright's reaction to the red card that helped swing momentum Wales' way in their win over Francehttps://t.co/oHJmAcyEIe
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 20, 2019
Vahaamahina turned 28 today, and has been capped 46 times for France since making his debut against Australia in 2012.
Meanwhile, World Rugby are investigating the circumstances surrounding a photo of referee Peyper with some Wales supporters.
A photo of Peyper appearing to mock the incident which saw Vahaamahina red-carded appeared on social media.
“World Rugby is aware of a picture on social media of referee Jaco Peyper with a group of Wales fans taken after last night’s quarter-final between Wales and France in Oita,” a World Rugby spokesperson said.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further while we are establishing the facts.”
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