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Captain Ibanez to hang up his boots

London Wasps captain Raphael Ibanez has today announced his retirement from club rugby with immediate effect.

Following a period of rest and recuperation after a series of complex concussions, Ibanez has been forced to end his career on medical grounds. Sustaining an initial concussion against Worcester Warriors in September 2008, Ibanez suffered further head injuries against Leinster in Dublin and Sale at Adams Park earlier this season and has since undergone a number of investigations whilst completing a recommended two month period of rest. Subsequently Ibanez has attempted to gradually integrate back into training however he is still symptomatic when undertaking physical exertion.

Following a reassessment by London Wasps neurosurgeon and neurologist last week the decision has been made by the medical team, coaches and Ibanez to stop playing with immediate effect as the risk of serious injury are too great to warrant an attempt to play again.

Making the announcement today, on his 36th birthday, Ibanez who joined the club in 2005, has enjoyed great success as part of the Wasps outfit successfully collecting silverware in every competition since his arrival. Appointed club captain at the beginning of the 2008/09 season, Ibanez will continue his involvement with the club working with the coaches and players this season as they drive their ambition for Guinness Premiership honours.

To hear from the man himself click on the speaker icon below.

Raphael Ibanez announces his retirement

Raphael Ibanez announces his retirement

Raphael Ibanez Fact File

Full Name: Raphael Ibanez
Date Of Birth: 17/02/1973 (35)
Place Of Birth: Dax (France)
Ht: 180cm / 5'11"
Wt: 102kg / 16st 1lbs
Clubs: Dax, Castres Olympique, USA Perpignan, Saracens, London Wasps
Honours: France A, France
Invitational: Barbarians

Ibanez played his first game of rugby at the age of 18, coming to the game late. His father also played hooker for Dax before him.

Wasps Career:
Joined: 2005
Debut: vSaracens 03/09/2005
Appearances: Played 67, points 65 (13 tries)
Club Honours: Powergen Cup 2006, Heineken Cup 2007, Guinness Premiership 2008

International Career:
Test Summary: Played: 98, Won: 63, Drawn: 1, Lost: 34, Tries: 8, Points: 40
International debut: as a replacement versus Wales, 1996 at the National Stadium, Cardiff
Last match: against Argentina in 3rd Place Play Off of RWC 2007.
There were 142 French Test Matches between his debut and last match, of which he played on 98 occasions.
Ibanez captained France for the first time against England in the opening Six Nations game of 1998. It was Ibanez' 7th cap, and only his 3rd start for his country. France won 24-17 on the way to the Grand Slam. England was captained by Lawrence Dallaglio. It was the first game ever played at the Stade de France.

Six Nations Championship:
Played in 9 Championships 1996. 1998 (capt, Grand Slam), 1999(capt), 2000, 2001, 2002(Grand Slam), 2003, 2006 (Six Nations Champions), 2007 (capt, Six Nations Champions)
Played 38 Championship Matches ' Won 26, Lost 12, Tries 2, Points 10.

Rugby World Cup:
Played in 3 RWC - 1999, 2003 & 2007. Reached the RWC Final in 1999 as captain, and semi final in 2003
Played 18 RWC Matches - Won 12, Lost 6, Tries 2, Points 10. Holds the French record for most appearances in RWC (Fabien Pelous second with 16). Jason Leonard holds the overall record with 22.
Junior World Champion 1992
University World Champion (French captain) 1996