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Ibanez retires over head injuries

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Ibanez says retiring was the 'wise' decision and he will now turn to coaching

Wasps and former France skipper Raphael Ibanez has announced his retirement from club rugby with immediate effect after taking medical advice.

The 36-year-old hooker decided to hang up his boots after consulting with club doctors following a series of complex concussions this season.

Ibanez, who joined Wasps in 2005, has won silverware in every competition since moving to Adams Park.

He was made club captain at the start of the 2008-09 season.

Ibanez, who won the Powergen Cup, Heineken Cup and Guinness Premiership while at Adams Park, suffered his initial concussion against Worcester Warriors in September 2008.

Edwards pays tribute to Ibanez

Further head injuries followed away against Leinster and at home to Sale in November.

He underwent tests while resting for two months and had begun training again but the symptoms returned.

Following a reassessment by a neurosurgeon and neurologist last week Ibanez took the decision, along with the Wasps coaches, that he should retire.

"We all agreed that to avoid a bad injury it is time for me to stop playing," Ibanez said. "I tried everything to come back onto the pitch but it is just too risky."

Ibanez began his career in his hometown of Dax before moving on to Perpignan, Castres and then to Saracens in 2003.

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He played 98 times for France after making his debut against Wales in 1996, and reached the World Cup final in 1999 as well as captaining the 1998 Grand Slam winning side.

Ibanez also featured in the 2002 Grand Slam winning team and helped France win the 2006 Six Nations title before leading them to victory in the competition again the following year.

He retired twice from international rugby, initially quitting following the 2003 World Cup in Australia before having a change of heart two years later.

Ibanez finally quit the international game after losing the third-place play-off against Argentina at the World Cup in his homeland in 2007.

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see also
Trio quit Wasps to play in France
17 Feb 09 |  London Wasps
Ibanez named as new Wasps captain
04 Aug 08 |  London Wasps
Veteran Ibanez extends Wasps deal
28 Feb 08 |  London Wasps
France's Ibanez quits Test rugby
10 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Ibanez to captain France at Cup
02 Jul 07 |  Rugby Union
Ibanez ends retirement for France
16 Nov 05 |  Internationals
French hooker Ibanez joins Wasps
03 Aug 05 |  English
Ibanez quits internationals
29 Nov 03 |  Rugby Union
Saracens sign Ibanez
11 Jun 03 |  English


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