Legendary Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo is being forced to retire after evidence of ‘spinal damage’ was found during a medical test.

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Grenoble said they “wished to extend its journey with Sona Taumalolo for one more season. Unfortunately, during his medical tests, cervical spine anomalies were detected.”

The club have described it as a delicate situation for the loosehead prop, who could potentially suffer a life-changing injury if he continued playing rugby.

They say further medical exams have ruled out the legendary prop – who was once considered the fastest loosehead on the planet – from taking any further part in rugby.

The club stated: “It is with a lot of regret and sadness that the Club makes this announcement. Sona is an example for our Club and is a “dad of the locker room”. An awesome fighter who must give up for the first time of his huge career.”

Taumalolo is said to be deeply upset at the news.

“We want to give him and his family our full support. The FCG will stay close to him and will help him in the coming weeks to help surpass this moment,” concluded the club.

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The loosehead made 20 appearances for Tonga, and also represented Racing 92, Perpignan and Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs.

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