England centre Riki Flutey says his team can beat the country of his birth at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Leaving for Japan ... Riki Flutey. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: Riki Flutey has decided to leave London Wasps at the end of the season and play in Japan, signalling the end of his international rugby career with England.

The New Zealand-born Flutey said on Tuesday that he has decided to move his family back to his homeland for the birth of his fourth child before picking up an overseas playing contract.

The 32-year-old Flutey played 14 times for England after qualifying on residency grounds in 2008 but the Rugby Football Union no longer considers players outside of Britain for selection.

"I am hugely grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had while playing with London Wasps and have been fortunate to have played in some great teams," Flutey said. "I really just want to take this chance to say a massive thanks to Wasps for being so supportive and understanding of what has been a tough decision to leave.

"But ultimately having four young kids away from family and a support network in New Zealand would be very tough."

Out of action with an ankle injury, Flutey is likely to have played his last game for Wasps.

Flutey played for the New Zealand Maori but never made the step up to the All Blacks. He left the Wellington Hurricanes for London Irish in 2005, switching to Wasps two years later.

He helped Wasps win the English Premiership in 2008 and was voted player of the year in the players' union end-of-season awards.

Having lived in England for three years, he was eligible for the national team at the start of the following season and made his debut at Twickenham soon after at inside centre in a 39-13 win over the Pacific Islanders.

Flutey's four tries in the 2009 Six Nations - in which England finished second - earned him his only international points but also helped clinch a place on that year's British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

He played in the third test, making him the first player to play for and against the Lions on a southern hemisphere tour.

Injury then interrupted Flutey's career. He moved to Brive but his contract was terminated by mutual consent and he returned to Wasps.

Given England's lack of options at No.12, he was surprisingly overlooked for last year's Rugby World Cup squad and last played in a warmup against Wales on August 6.

AP