Veteran Nallet retires

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:00
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After a long and illustrious career French lock Lionel Nallet is retiring from international rugby at the age of 35.

After a long and illustrious career French lock Lionel Nallet is retiring from international rugby at the age of 35. He has been left out of the team for the last Six Nations match of 2012 - against Wales in Cardiff this Saturday.

Nallet was first selected for France against Romania in May 2000. He played 74 times for France in a career which included two World Cups, a defeated World Cup finalist in 2011 and a winner of the Six Nations in 2006, 2007 and 2010 when France won the Grand Slam.

He scored nine tries for France, his first in the debut. He captained France 16 times, talking over the captaincy from Raphaël Ibañez and handing it on to Thierry Dusautoir.

Not the tallest at 1,95 metres or the heaviest at 115 kilograms, Nallet was a strong, reliable, international fearless lock forward.

Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, he started his professional career with Bourgoin before moving to Castres and then in 2009 to Racing-Métro, where he is now playing his club rugby.

He was not an original choice for this season's Six Nations but in January when Romain Millo-Chluski pulled out with a shoulder injury, coach Philippe Saint-Andre brought Nallet back into the side.

Now he is one of six French players from the two-point defeat at the hands of the English in Paris last Sunday, left out of the team to play unbeaten Wales. The others left out are wing Vincent Clerc who is injured, scrumhalf Julien Dupuy, centre Maxime Mermoz and wing Julien Malzieu. In Nallet's place at lock is 30-year-old Julien Pierre who has been capped 17 times for France.

It's a damp squib of an ending for a great player.

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