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2023 Retiring Test XV 

The end of the Rugby World Cup spells the end of Test season and naturally, that sees a number of players call time on their Test careers.

South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen

The end of the Rugby World Cup spells the end of Test season and naturally, that sees a number of players call time on their Test careers. Bet Central compiled a team of players who won’t feature in the national colours again.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

Leigh Halfpenny has been a part of the Welsh setup for a long time, he recently called time on his 15-year Test career which featured 4 British & Irish Lions Tests and 101 for Wales.

His performances against Australia in the 2013 Lions tour will be fondly remembered. Shout to Stuart Hogg as well.

14. Jonny May (England)

In his prime, Jonny May was a slippery player as he blitzed past would-be defenders with his incredible pace. He scored some memorable tries striding his way to the try line 36 times in 75 Tests.

He leaves an incredible legacy and will go down as one of England’s finest finishers.

13. Keith Earls (Ireland)

Perhaps featured more on the wing than at 13, particularly at Test level, but Keith Earls had to find a spot in the team after a magnificent Test career with Ireland.

The Munster legend also dotted down 36 times for Ireland in a century of Tests, he goes out as an accomplished finisher.

12. Dan Biggar (Wales)

Like Earls, we simply had to find space for Dan Biggar despite being a flyhalf, he’s at the inside centre in our team. During the golden years under Warren Gatland, Biggar was one of the biggest contributors during that period.

A leader of men, he goes out as one of the greatest players in history for Wales.

11. Marika Koroibete (Australia)

Despite this one not being confirmed, Marika Koroibete’s good friend and Wallabies teammate, Pone Fa’amuasili said that the winger who featured for Australia 59 times would retire from international rugby after the World Cup.

He walks away having been one of Australia’s brightest stars during a period of real struggle for the national team. The bulk of his 20 Test tries have been sensational individual scores.

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

The reason we had to feature Biggar at 12, one of the biggest names to retire after this World Cup. Johnny Sexton is quite simply one of Ireland’s greatest players of all time and amongst an elite class of Test flyhalves.

He scored 1108 points in 119 Tests for Ireland while featuring 6 times in British & Irish Lions Tests. A legend of the game.

9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

An absolute great of the game and in the argument for the greatest player to play in his position. Has there ever been a pass off the base as good as that of Aaron Smith? Unlikely. It wasn’t just the passing though; it was how he could control the game from scrumhalf.

There were at least 3 flyhalves who won the Men’s World Rugby Player of the Year award playing outside him – truly a player to marvel at. Ben Youngs also played his final Test for England, and he leaves an incredible legacy.

8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)

Duane Vermeulen will go down as one of the greatest 8thmen of the modern era. There isn’t a single facet of 8th-man play that Vermeulen did not thrive in.

That he’s a 2-time World Cup winner solidifies his place as South Africa’s finest 8th man and a legend of the game. He leaves the Springboks in a good place.

7. Sergio Parisse (Italy)

The only player in this team not to feature at the recently concluded World Cup having called time on his career a few months before the World Cup. Sergio Parisse has had a truly remarkable career.

The greatest Italian player of all time ended his decorated playing career and is set to assume coaching in France in the coming years.

6. Courtney Lawes (England)

Courtney Lawes is the only player who features in both the World Cup Team of the Tournament and this team and that should tell you just how good a player he is and has been over a 14-year Test career.

He leaves the international game still amongst the best operators as a blindside flanker and an England legend.

5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)

The 1st player to feature in 3 World Cup finals and that should tell you all you need to know about Sam Whitelock’s standing in the game. The most capped All Black of all time.

Does he perhaps edge out John Eales, Victor Matfield, and Paul O’Connell as the finest proponent of the No. 5 jersey? It’s hard to say, but he’s in the conversation. Let’s not forget the legendary Alun Wyn Jones also called time on his career this year.

4. Brodie Rettalick (New Zealand)

One of the greatest locks of all time, at his peak, no lock in the world could touch Brodie Rettalick. His ball skills, physicality, and lineout prowess made him a nightmare to deal with.

He moves on from the All Blacks leaving an incredible legacy. Romain Taofifenua also called time on his French career.

3. Uini Atonio (France)

One of the most underrated players in this group, he was a superb player as the French Revolution began to take shape under the tutelage of Fabien Galthie. He retires from the French side after 57 Tests and will be adored by the La Rochelle fans now.

It also looks like Dan Cole has played his last game for the England team.

2. Dane Coles (New Zealand)

At 1 point Dane Coles was one of the most exciting hookers in the world. He was exceptional at the set piece and was a roving hooker who had the running lines and speed of a centre. It was a memorable time, but naturally, as he grew older, he dropped off.

It’s still unclear whether Agustin Creevy will feature in the next cycle for Argentina, if not he has been an absolute pleasure for Los Pumas.

1. Joe Marler (England)

Joe Marler is one of the most interesting characters in the game and he has confirmed that he will hang up his boots at the end of the domestic season which likely ends his international career which comprised 86 Tests.

He will be long remembered. Though not confirmed yet, James Slipper may have played his final game for Australia.

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