The insane list of players who have retired from international rugby | 2019/20

FRANCE 

Guilhem Guirado (2008-19), 74 caps. Age: 33

The hooker replaced Thierry Dusautoir as Les Bleus’ captain in January 2016 and led them in Japan, his third Rugby World Cup.

Louis Picamoles (2008-19), 82 caps. Age: 33

France’s most-capped number eight appeared at his third Rugby World Cup in Japan. A formidable ball carrier.

Sébastien Vahaamahina (2012-19), 46 caps. Age: 28

Not the best of endings for the abrasive second-row who announced his retirement the day after his Rugby World Cup red card against Wales.

GEORGIA 

Mamuka Gorgodze (2003-19), 75 caps. Age: 35

Arguably Georgia’s greatest-ever rugby player initially retired in 2017 before returning to the fold to help the Lelos in their hour of need at RWC 2019 following a back-row injury crisis.

IRELAND

Rory Best (2005-19), 124 caps. Age: 37

Yet another quarter-final exit provided an unhappy ending to an Ireland career that brought more highs than lows, with the historic win over New Zealand and two Grand Slams the captain’s standout achievements. Under him, Ireland also reached number one in the World Rugby rankings for the first time.

JAPAN 

Kenki Fukuoka (2013-19), 38 caps. Age; 27

At 27, Kenki Fukuoka still had plenty of good years ahead of him but the diminutive wing has called it a day to continue the family tradition of working in the medical profession. Scored 25 tries in his 38 Tests.

NEW ZEALAND 

Ryan Crotty (2013-19), 48 caps. Age: 31

One of the mainstays of the All Blacks midfield and a classy all-round footballer. A key asset to the All Blacks and Crusaders.

Kieran Read (2008-19), 127 caps. Age: 34

Departing All Blacks captain Read heads off with 127 Test caps to his name, placing him third on the all-time appearance list behind Richie McCaw on 148 and Keven Mealamu with 132.

Ben Smith (2009-19), 84 caps. Age: 33

Only Mils Muliaina played more Tests as a back-three player than Smith, whose outstanding counter-attacking ability earned him a reputation as the best fullback to grace world rugby in the last decade.

Sonny Bill Williams (2010-19), 58 caps. Age: 34

Revolutionised midfield play with his ability to offload out of the tackle. Another cross-code move, this time to Toronto Wolfpack, signals an end to a memorable dual international career.

CONTINUES ON PAGE 3