France international centre Virimi Vakatawa has had to retire from rugby due to a heart defect, according to the doctor of his Top 14 team Racing 92 on Tuesday.

Sylvain Blanchard revealed at a press conference on Tuesday that the 30-year-old Fiji-born player’s problem had surfaced prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“He has to finish his career in France due to a cardiological issue,” Blanchard explained.

“A heart defect was discovered prior to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.”

“This defect, which was unrelated to rugby, has been constantly monitored, but it is progressively deteriorating.”

The club confirmed on Monday that the LNR, which oversees professional rugby union in France, was involved.

Vakatawa, who has 32 caps, has not played since France defeated Japan 20-15 in July.

In May, he played in Racing’s 20-13 loss to La Rochelle in the European Champions Cup semi-final.

Injuries, particularly to the knee, derailed Vakatawa’s campaign in the 2021/22 season.

He was not a member of France’s Six Nations Grand Slam-winning squad last season.

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