Sebastien Vahaamahina: France lock retires from Test rugby the day after red card

France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina was sent off in the 49th minute against Wales by referee Jaco Peyper
France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina was sent off in the 49th minute against Wales by referee Jaco Peyper

France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina has retired from Test rugby the day after his World Cup red card against Wales.

The forward, who turned 28 on Monday, was dismissed early in the second half for an elbow on Wales back-row Aaron Wainwright.

France had led Wales but went on to lose Sunday's quarter-final 20-19.

Vahaamahina admitted he "lost control" in the incident, but said he had always planned to retire from internationals after the tournament.

"It's hard, very hard for me today - especially because, as I have planned for several months, it was my last match with the national team," the Clermont Auvergne player said.

"I hadn't made a public announcement of my retirement but the people impacted by the decision have known since the summer: (France coach) Jacques Brunel, (Clermont coach) Franck Azema and several of the players.

"I wanted to have the best possible match and tournament to finish on... perhaps I wanted it too much. My desire and my aggression got the better of me."

Vahaamahina won 46 caps for Les Bleus, with his solitary try coming in the game against Wales, who now advance to face South Africa in their semi-final next Sunday.

His dismissal continued to cause controversy after the game, when referee Jaco Peyper was pictured with a group of Wales fans imitating Vahaamahina's elbow.

World Rugby is looking into South African official Peyper's pose to "establish the facts".

Vahaamahina was suspended for six weeks by a World Rugby disciplinary hearing on Thursday, but the player had already revealed he plans to have an operation on his arm.

A World Rugby statement said: "Vahaamahina will miss his next six matches with his club Clermont Auvergne, Therefore the player is free to play again on December 16th, 2019."

Although the entry point for punishment was 10 weeks, the committee reduced it by four weeks after Vahaamahina acknowledged his conduct and apologised to Wainwright.

Vahaamahina added: "It is the end of a cycle, a new page turns in my career. I am 28 and I can't wait to rebuild, physically and mentally, and come back even stronger."

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