The perfect ending is rare for sportspeople with France scrum-half Laure Sansus the latest reminder that we can never know when the end is coming.
The TikTok Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship headed to the World Cup in New Zealand in the form of her life, hoping to help France to a maiden global title.
But after scoring the opening try of the competition against South Africa, her tournament has been cut short by a serious knee injury early in the second match against England.
Confirmation arrived on Monday that Sansus has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, bringing down the curtain not only on her tournament, but on her career.
She said: “You can never choose your ending, and my situation is a perfect example. I would have loved to finish my career another way. While the World Cup ended for me on Saturday, it continues for this France squad.
“While I won’t be able to battle on the pitch with my friends, I will show the same desire cheering them on from the stands. I will be their number one supporter. I want the girls to finish with a smile on the evening of November 12.”
That Sansus is retiring at the age of 28 might seem strange. After battling injuries for a number of years, she has established herself as France’s most important player over the past 18 months.
In 2022 alone, she has scored nine tries and set up seven more, cementing her place as France’s first-choice scrum-half ahead of club colleague Pauline Bourdon.
And before the World Cup, the duo revealed that they are more than rivals for the No.9 jersey, in fact they are in a couple and will be getting married next year.
In a wide-reaching interview with French rugby publication the Midi Olympique, the pair talked extensively about their relationship, Sansus’ personal struggles and a very good reason for calling it a day.
Elles vivent ensemble, vont se marier, jouent 9 et se partagent le poste à Toulouse et en équipe de France… Bref, elles sont amoureuses, partenaires, concurrentes et complices à la fois !
— Midi Olympique (@midi_olympique) October 5, 2022
She explained: “I’ve never had any doubts over my decision. I had a down period in January and February. It was tough to go training, to go to the gym. The World Cup was pushed back a year, so I had to push back this decision by a year. I got back into it but it was hard.
“We’re going to get married next year. That also factored into my decision. Having a family is something we’re hoping to do soon. We have to be realistic. If we had both continued our careers for ten years, it would have been difficult to become mothers. In other sports, some people have children and then come back.
“But in this situation, with us both playing, training every night and going away at the weekend, and with the national team. Competing in a World Cup means going away for three months. I don’t know how we would have managed that if we were both mothers already. So that is something that I want for the future and pushed me to stop.”
While it is a desperate shame that Sansus’ career has been brought to a premature end, it is clear that she is at peace with her decision.
For now, she will remain in New Zealand and cheer on Les Bleues as they look to bounce back from their narrow defeat to England on Saturday.
Centre Marie Dupouy has been called into the squad in her place, with Bourdon set to take on an even bigger role within the squad in the absence of her fiancée.