English Rugby
Sackey set for England retirement
ESPNscrum Staff
December 5, 2010
Paul Sackey flies down the wing, Toulon v Ospreys, Heineken Cup, Mayol stadium, Toulon, France, October 9, 2010
Paul Sackey streaks away to score for Toulon against the Ospreys in the Heineken Cup earlier this season © Getty Images

England and Toulon winger Paul Sackey intends to retire from international rugby after next year's World Cup in New Zealand.

The former Wasps flyer scored in Toulon's 29-14 victory over Montpellier in the French Top 14 on Saturday and remains determined to regain his England place ahead of the World Cup. But he has not played for England since moving to France and appears to be outside of head coach Martin Johnson's plans.

Should the 31-year-old win an international reprieve and make it into England's squad for the tournament next September, it will be the last time he pulls on an England shirt.

With the RFU insisting that players should be based in England if they intend to be considered for the national team after the World Cup, Sackey admits he will be focusing on the next stage of his career by then.

"I'll probably retire from international rugby after the World Cup and move onto a new chapter in my career," he told the Mirror. "So what England are saying at the moment is likely to have no real bearing on me."

Sackey helped England to reach the final of the World Cup in 2007, scoring four tries in six matches during the tournament. He has scored 11 tries in 22 Tests for England.

While the Toulon winger is eager to win back his international jersey, he fears he may struggle to force his way into the Johnson's Test squad. And his task has been made harder by the impact of wingers Chirs Ashton and Mark Cueto during England's recent autumn internationals.

He added: "I'm probably thinking the worst at the moment. I'm out here on my own and I have bags of time to analyse stuff while I'm walking my dogs.

"It's just a feeling I have based on what I've heard and some of the feedback I've had. I hope I'm wrong because I'd be pretty upset if this was to be it for me and England. Representing my country has been the greatest honour."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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