Red-carded French rugby player retires from internationals

France led 19-10 when Sebastien Vahaamahina was sent off in the 49th minute in Tokyo for elbowing Aaron Wainwright on Sunday. Wales won 20-19.

France's lock Sebastien Vahaamahina receives a red card from referee Jaco Peyper during the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between Wales and France at the Oita Stadium in Oita, Japan on 20 October 2019. Picture: AFP

PARIS - France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina announced his international retirement on Monday 24 hours after being sent off in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal defeat to Wales.

Les Bleus led 19-10 when Vahaamahina was sent off in the 49th minute in Oita for elbowing Aaron Wainwright before his side lost after conceding a penalty goal and a late converted try in the final half an hour.

"It's difficult, very difficult today even more so that I had planned this many months ago, that was my last match for France," he said in a statement published on his 28th birthday.

"I hadn't made the announcement about my retirement public because it's not how I do things.

"The people impacted by this decision have known since this summer: Jacques Brunel, Franck Azema, some players also," he told newspaper Midi Olympique.

Vahaamahina, who won his 46th cap in the fixture, lashed out at flanker Wainwright at a driving maul with his side seeming to be in a dominant position in the game.

"I just lost control. I regret the act, admittedly it was spontaneous and out of control but the fact remains that I am responsible. I'm the only one to blame," he said.

Captain Guilhem Guirado and the most experienced member of France's World Cup squad Louis Picamoles also announced the end of their international careers after the loss.

Wales face South Africa in next Sunday's semifinal after two-time reigning champions New Zealand play England a day earlier.