Italy dealt blow with Dellape retirement

by staff

Veteran lock Santiago Dellape dealt a blow to Italy's World Cup campaign on Tuesday when he announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.

The 32-year-old, 64-cap Racing-Metro star said he had decided for personal reasons to bring down the curtain on his international career, which has seen him play in two World Cups.

"I am retiring from international rugby," said Dellape, who is hoping to help his club win the French title.

"I have taken this decision for personal reasons. It may appear a little bizarre, but sometimes you have to make difficult decisions.

"I have been thinking it over for several months and I am doing what is best for myself."

Dellape, a pivotal figure in the recent Six Nations, said that he realised he would not be up to the severe demands made on players at the World Cup, which gets under way in New Zealand in September.

"I have already played in World Cups, I know what that involves physically, psychologically and mentally and today I do not feel ready to assume those challenges for different reasons. The best thing therefore is not to go to it.

"I still have two years on my contract with Racing. Now that I will no longer be playing international rugby, I will be able to give everything for my club and help it achieve its ambitions in the next two seasons.

"After that we will see," said Dellape, who has been playing club rugby in France since 2004, appearing for Agen, Biarritz and Toulon.

Racing face Montpellier in the play-off semi-finals in Marseille a week on Saturday.