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Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy, 36, to retire at end of season

Published 20/05/2016

Imanol Harinordoquy, top, will retire after this season
Imanol Harinordoquy, top, will retire after this season

Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old is hoping to sign off by winning the Top 14 title with Toulouse before calling time on his 16-year career.

"I will stop at the end of the season," he told L'Equipe.

"It will be a bit special when I play my last matches. I am not apprehensive. On the contrary, I am very excited about my final days. I want to win something."

The back-row player won 82 caps for Les Bleus and helped them win the Six Nations title five times, including three Grand Slams, and reach the 2011 World Cup final.

He also won the French title twice with Biarritz - but also suffered relegation with them in 2014, at which point he began to consider retirement.

He said: "It has come quite naturally, knowing that I was ready to stop two years ago after a difficult season at Biarritz, with the team's relegation and a knee constantly in pain.

"I nearly ended my career because I could not train any more. Running had become a torture. When you get up the day after the game and need four ice packs on your knee, when your son asks you to pass a ball around in the garden and you cannot, you realise you have a life away from rugby."

Harinordoquy began his professional career with Pau and spent a decade with Biarritz until their relegation, when he stayed in the Top 14 with Toulouse.

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