Spine damage forces Grenoble ‘papa’ Taumalolo to retire

Grenoble's Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo has been forced to retire at 36 because of spinal damage.

Grenoble (France) (AFP) – Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo has been declared unfit to continue playing rugby because of spinal damage, his club Grenoble announced in Saturday.

The 36-year-old helped Grenoble win promotion to the Top 14 last season. He had been due to sign a one-year contract extension but a medical examination showed problems in the cervical spine which a second medical opinion confirmed, the club said on their web site.

The club called him the “papa of our dressing room” and said he had been “profoundly moved by this news”.

Taumalolo had been with Grenoble since 2015. He also played for Racing and Perpignan in France and before that for Hawke’s Bay and then the Chiefs in New Zealand.

He won 14 caps for Tonga and appeared in the 2011 World Cup.