France flanker Kevin Gourdon retires at 31 with heart problem
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La Rochelle — French international flanker Kevin Gourdon has had to end his playing career at 31 following the discovery of a heart problem, his club La Rochelle said on Tuesday.
"It's brutal and sad news, but my health is a priority," said Gourdon on the club web site.
"Unfortunately it's something we can't control, I'm not in a position to do anything to make the situation different, so I have no regrets."
"Today I have to turn to a new part of my life, perhaps a little sooner than expected, but which will be, I'm convinced, just as fulfilling," he said.
Gourdon joined La Rochelle from Clermont in 2012 and played 221 games for the club as it went from the second division to last season's Champions Cup final. He has played 19 times for France.
"I've been lucky enough to have a busy career, I've experienced a lot with Stade Rochelais, the Pro D2, the fight to stay in the Top 14 and then a few years later the final phases. It's a lot of memories, a lot of emotions", he said.
Gourdon had just extended his club contract for two more years.
Club president Vincent Merling praised "the man that Kevin was, his loyalty to the Club, his immense talent...We will miss him a lot.