Rugby World Cup
Dellape announces surprise Italy retirement
ESPNscrum Staff
May 18, 2011
Italy lock Santiago Dellape, April 2 2005
Santiago Dellape has retired from international rugby © Getty Images

Italy's Rugby World Cup preparations have been dealt a blow by the surprise international retirement of experienced lock Santiago Dellape.

The 33-year-old Racing Metro second-rower, capped 64 times and a veteran of two World Cups, has turned his back on international competition given the demands placed on players.

Dellape played in four of Italy's 2011 Six Nations games, including a start in their watershed victory over France in Rome.

"I am retiring from international rugby," he told AFP. "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 hopes that he can continue to contribute for Racing across the remaining two years of his contract, beginning with this season's Top 14 play-offs.

"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," he said. "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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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