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Wesley Fofana announces international retirement date

Clermont Auvergne back Wesley Fofana has signalled his intention to end his international career after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

Fofana, has been troubled by an achilles injury in recent years. He has only made one appearance for Les Bleus since 2016, starting at centre in their 49-19 defeat in the third test against New Zealand in Dunedin last June.

Head coach Jacques Brunel recently recalled the Clermont man to the France squad for the Six Nations and Fofana is confident of playing in Japan in the autumn despite his injury troubles.

Speaking at France’s training camp in Marcoussis, near Paris, Fofana said that the time was right to step aside from international duty.

“For me, it’s fine, I’m 31 years-old. There are some extraordinary youngsters coming through so it’s the right moment in my opinion,” said Fofana.

He admitted that club and family commitments were motives for the decision.

“If I was all alone, I wouldn’t ask myself the question (I would continue). But I have signed a long contract with my club (until 2023). I have my wife, my children. I want to experience something very intense until the World Cup and after that dedicate myself to my club and my family.”

Fofana feels that there is a strong generation of players ready to take his place after the tournament in Japan, with the likes of Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont and Damian Penaud all battling for a starting spot.

“I want to do everything I can until the World Cup but after that the youngsters will carry the flame.”

31-year-old Fofana has won 45 France caps since making his international debut in 2012.

LARRY PORTER

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