Beavers Sevens Rugby are please to announce the appointment of Raphaël Ibañez Honorary Life Club President
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Ibañez began his playing career in his home town of Dax before moving to Perpignan and Castres.
After his first international retirement following the 2003 World Cup, he moved to Saracens. In 2005 he moved to Wasps on a two-year deal. In the first match of the following season, he was made captain as replacement for the injured Lawrence Dallaglio.
He was also heavily responsible for London Wasps' win in the 2007 Heineken Cup final, playing in the same side as fellow Six Nations captain Phil Vickery. Wasps beat long-time rivals Leicester at Twickenham in former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio's last match, and Ibanez scored one of Wasps's tries.
Ibañez continued to play for Wasps until suffering a series of what ultimately proved to be career-ending head injuries in late 2008. On 28 February 2008, Wasps announced that Ibañez and the club had agreed on a contract extension that would see him serve as a specialist forwards coach in the London Wasps Academy, as well as play for the senior side, during the 2008-09 season. On 5 August 2008 Ibanez was named as successor to Lawrence Dallaglio to take over the captaincy at Lomdon Wasps.
On his 36th birthday, 17 February 2009, Ibanez announced his retirement from all rugby as a player. He suffered a concussion in a match against Worcester Warriors in September 2008, and suffered further head injuries in two later games. Whilst completing a two-month rest period, he continued to suffer symptoms from his injuries during training sessions, and ended his playing career on medical advice.
He made his debut against Wales in 1996 and went on to win 72 caps for his country, including 27 as captain, before his first retirement from international rugby in 2003. He won successive Grand Slams with France in 1997 and 1998 and led them to the World Cup Final in 1999.
Ibañez retired from international rugby after the 2003 World Cup, but Franch coach Bernard Laporte made it one of his priorities to bring him back into the fold, especially after fellow hooker William Servat was ruled out of the autumn schedule with a neck injury. He added 26 more France Test caps, 15 of them as captain, before announcing his second and final international retirement in 2008.
Ibañez served as France captain for the 2007 Six Nations, taking over from the injured Fabien Pelous for France's first two matches, and then being named captain for the remainder of the competition after Pelous' injury ruled him out of France's remaining three fixtures.
After Pelous' injury troubles continued, Ibañez was named as France captain for the 2007 World Cup, with Pelous as his unofficial vice-captain. France went on to finish fourth in the 2007 World Cup.
Ibañez announced his second retirement from Test rugby on 10 January 2008.
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