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Lawes to retire from England duty

PARIS (AFP) – England vice-captain Courtney Lawes has announced he will retire from international duty at the completion of the Rugby World Cup.

The 34-year-old flanker was part of the England team that exceeded expectations by leading South Africa until the final minutes of Saturday’s semi-final before losing 16-15.

England have the small consolation of the third-place playoff against Argentina on Friday, which will be the last time Lawes pulls on the England jersey, if selected.

Lawes, who has made 105 appearances, 12 of them as captain, in a 15-year England career, said on Sunday: “I’ve said to the boys, anyone that’s asked. I think it’s time. I’ve done four World Cups, so I’m pretty happy with that.

“It’s a bit of an end of an era, but it’s been a real honour for me to represent England for so long. It flies by.

“I’m proud of the journey I’ve been on. It’s not always been the ups. Plenty of downs in there, but I’ve pushed through. I’m not an emotional person really, but it’s just been a huge honour for me.

“To be able to finish with this group, it’s something I’ll treasure forever.”

England’s Courtney Lawes challenges South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth during the Rugby World Cup. PHOTO: AP