Toulouse star Sam Rapira forced to retire early

Toulouse forward Sam Rapira has been forced to retire early after suffering a hand injury in their defeat in Toronto.

The former New Zealand international was set to hang up his boots at the end of the season, but he has now been ruled out for the rest of the season with a hand injury.

Rapira, who won the World Cup with the Kiwis in 2008, made 173 appearances for New Zealand Warriors in the NRL, before playing 43 games for Huddersfield Giants between 2016 and 2017.

Toulouse coach Sylvain Houles is gutted that the 31-year-old will not go out on a high.

He said: “He didn’t want to finish his career that way and I feel so bad for him because he worked so hard to come back from two injuries already this year.

“I’m still so happy we brought Sam to the club. It has been a joy to coach him and the boys absolutely love him.

“I would have liked to have him a bit longer but his body is tired, which is a shame. He is an absolute legend.”

Rapira earned 13 caps for the Kiwis between 2007 and 2011.