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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Ibanez to captain France at Cup
Raphael Ibanez celebrates Wasps' Heineken Cup win
Ibanez helped Wasps win the Heineken Cup last season
Veteran Wasps hooker Raphael Ibanez will captain France at the World Cup.

The 34-year-old has beaten Fabien Pelous - whom he replaced as captain when the second row was injured during the Six Nations - to the role.

Ibanez, who retired from international rugby in 2003 before returning in 2005, has captained Les Bleus 34 times.

Pelous will take over if Ibanez, who has won 90 caps, has to leave the field during the tournament which takes place in France in September and October.

France team manager Jo Maso said it was an "easy" decision to make Ibanez captain.

It is an immense honour and an immense responsibility

Raphael Ibanez
"We spoke to them a lot on the telephone," Maso said. "We discussed the problem with each player, calmly, logically and intelligently.

"There weren't any concerns, it has all been clear, clean and precise.

"And it was easy to sort out because these great players are great friends."

The pair played together for Dax from 1994 to 1997.

It will be the second time Ibanez has captained France in a World Cup. He was also skipper in 1999, when France lost in the final to Australia.

"It is an immense honour and an immense responsibility, and I am desperate to dedicate myself fully to this great team," he said.

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