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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
French hooker Ibanez joins Wasps
Raphael Ibanez
Ibanez joins Wasps from their London rivals Saracens
Premiership champions Wasps have signed former France captain Raphael Ibanez from Saracens on a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old hooker, who won 72 caps for his country, including 27 as captain, said: "I'm looking forward to being part of a winning team.

"I'm the first Frenchman to sign for Wasps. I consider this a great honour."

With Craig Dowd becoming forwards coach and fellow front rowers Will Green and Trevor Leota both leaving, Wasps have been keen to bolster their options.

Wasps forward coach Dowd said: "Rafael is the missing piece in the puzzle - he gives us experience."

Ibanez brings a wealth of experience, having won successive Grand Slams with France in 1997 and 1998 and led them to the World Cup Final in 1999.

Born in Dax in France, Ibanez began his playing career there before moving to Perpignan and Castres.

After retiring from international rugby in 2003 he moved to the Premiership with Saracens.


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