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Two French stars retire in aftermath of World Cup exit

By Josh Raisey
Antoine Dupont and Romain Taofifenua/ PA

France head coach Fabien Galthie has confirmed that prop Uini Atonio and lock Romain Taofifenua have retired from international rugby following their quarter-final loss to South Africa on Sunday.


The World Cup hosts crashed out of the tournament in Paris on Sunday night, narrowly losing 29-28 in what has now turned out to be the final appearance in blue for the heavyweight duo.

La Rochelle tighthead Atonio has been a mainstay in the France front-row during this World Cup cycle and started against the Springboks. The New Zealand-born prop will retire with 57 caps to his name. Lyon’s Taofifenua came off the bench to replace Thibaud Flament for the final half hour at the Stade de France in what was his 49th and final game for Les Bleus.

Video Spacer

WATCH as French captain Antoine Dupont spits the dummy about some of referee Ben O’Keeffe’s decision in their one-point loss to South Africa

Video Spacer

WATCH as French captain Antoine Dupont spits the dummy about some of referee Ben O’Keeffe’s decision in their one-point loss to South Africa

Galthie said after the match: “This arrow of time gave us a very clear vision. The French team will continue to play, move forward and develop. Only two players are retiring, Uini Atonio and Romain Taofifenua. As for the rest, what we’ve just experienced is part of writing the book for the French team.

“It’s difficult. We used ‘the arrow of time’ [analogy] to work and grow with the players according to a certain methodology. We’ve worked really well over the last four years with the staff, the players and the federation, and we’ve achieved something great.”

The pair, both 33, will leave a sizeable hole in the France pack with Atonio weighing 146kg and Taofifenua weighing 136kg. With that kind of weight, they have been instrumental to France’s power up front over the past four years.



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GrandDisse 239 days ago

Went into the discussion expecting some farewell comments to Atonio and Tao.. wasn’t ready for people ranting about slavery, racism and stuff

B.J. Spratt 239 days ago

Jesus That’s a bit rich coming from the “Inventers of slavery and Colonialism and now you “Control The Game Of Rugby”

Billy Beaumont and Bernard Laporte, both as corrupt as a Three Dollar notes. Billy will “resign” soon with his “greedy little fingers in the till” as did his best mate Laporte who should be in jail.

So really nothing has changed. Don’t talk to us colonials about Xenophobia and Racism.

World Rugby (Big bad Billy) “jacked” the draw so England had an easy road. He with Laporte vice chairman rigged his own “election” in 2020.

That’s why he is being “Investigated”

Seeing your Royal Family sitting next to Beaumont was hard to stomach.

Anyway Good Luck to all England Supporters. . .Either way the AB’s will win this cup. Hopefully they can avoid “arrival fallacy” and get up Mentally for Argentina.

Terry 239 days ago

I think everyone needs to calm down in these comments it's just a game of rugby be proud of the team you choose to support and leave all the rubbish talk there's bigger problems going on in the world

Ri 240 days ago

Where are all the Northern hemisphere pundits? That predicted a Northern hemisphere semi and final?lol
You need to know your place, up north you control the football and down South we control the rugby.
Funny how all the NH teams best players come from the South lol
Got way way to ahead of yourselves.
Would have been no northern H team but for blatant bias against the Island teams, disgusting, then you go and take their players as well, disgusting

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