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Prop Kepu to end Wallabies career after World Cup

Prop Kepu to end Wallabies career after World Cup
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Scotland vs Australia - BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Britain - November 25, 2017 Australia's Sekope Kepu after being sent off Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough/File Photo -
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CRAIG BROUGH(Reuters)
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia prop Sekope Kepu said on Monday he will retire from international rugby after the World Cup in Japan, bringing the curtain down on a Wallabies career that has brought him more than 100 test caps.

Kepu became just the ninth Australian test centurion when he played world champions New Zealand in Yokohama last year, and the nation’s first prop to reach the milestone.

He will be honoured with a farewell ceremony in front of home fans after the Wallabies’ final World Cup warmup against Samoa in Sydney on Saturday.

“It’s going to very special,” he said in a media release.

“It’s another massive challenge and something I’m definitely looking forward to, running out in front of family and friends as well as our home fans for the last time this year.

“I never thought I would have achieved that milestone and to have done so, it’s something that makes me feel very privileged and fortunate.”

Japan will be the 33-year-old’s third World Cup before he heads to England to play with Premiership side London Irish next season.

Kepu made his test debut in 2008 against Italy in Padova and got his first start against Samoa in Sydney in 2011.

Kepu said he was leaving at a time when the Wallabies have ample depth in their front row.

“There’s guys pushing for spots everywhere now. We have quality depth in Australian Rugby and I’ll be looking from afar and just excited about what we have,” he said.

“Guys like Allan (Alaalatoa) and Taniela (Tupou), they have now established themselves at test level.

“And then Scotty (Sio), Slips (James Slipper), Tolu (Latu) and Folau (Fainga’a) and all those guys – now we can play anyone in that front row and you can guarantee they are going to do the job, no matter who we are playing.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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