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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 07:24 GMT
Merceron calls it quits
France's Gerald Merceron
Merceron will bow out after Thursday's game
French fly-half Gerald Merceron is to retire from international rugby after the World Cup.

The 30-year-old will make his final farewell in the third-place play-off against New Zealand in Sydney on Thursday.

"That will be my last international game," said the Montferrand player.

Merceron has played very much an understudy role to youngster Frederic Michalak at this World Cup.

I have no regrets, no bitterness. It was only normal that Frederic was chosen before me
Gerald Merceron
He had been groomed to partner captain and scrum-half Fabien Gathie in Australia but injuries and a dip in form have seen him make very few appearances.

"It's a decision I took several months ago and playing in the World Cup has not made me change my mind," he said.

"I have no regrets, no bitterness. It was only normal that Frederic was chosen before me. He showed the talent he has.

"I was just happy to take part in the World Cup even as a replacement.

"I am not part of the furniture. I haven't left my imprint on French rugby, the way Fabien Galthie has, but I am proud of the little contribution I have made."

Merceron made his international debut against Romania in 1999 and was the top points scorer in France's winning Six Nations side of 2002.

The game against the All Blacks will be his 32nd and last cap but he said he will continue to play for his club side in the top French league.

Galthie also announced this week he had played his final international in the semi-final loss to England.





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