Most-capped French player Fabien Pelous retires

Former French national rugby captain Fabien Pelous has announced he is retiring from competition at the end of his season with Toulouse. After an 18-year career, he holds a record 118 international caps for France.


AFP - Former France second row Fabien Pelous announced his decision to retire as a player with rugby union giants Toulouse on Thursday.

Pelous, who holds a record of 118 international caps for France, 42 of which he played as captain, thus brings the curtain down on an 18-year professional career, 12 of which he played with the former European club champions.

Having played his last game for France in the 9-14 loss to England in the 2007 World Cup, the 35-year-old will play until the end of the season with Toulouse, who are currently involved in the semi-finals battle for France's Top 14 crown.

Described as a "natural leader" by France team manager Jo Maso, Pelous appears ready to take the next step in his career. He joined the staff of France's 'A' set-up in January of this year and is poised to become the team's manager.

The Frenchman admitted he faces a difficult transitional period, due mainly to his ongoing desire to play.

"I have no regrets, even though the desire to play is still there and might still have been there for another two or three years," said Pelous.

"I'm expecting some difficult times because I know that the desire to keep playing will not disappear overnight."

Pelous, who helped Toulouse to two European Cup wins and three French championships, said he would remain focused on the field for his last five matches as a player.

"The future, now, is helping Toulouse until the end of the season. I'm still a player and I'll go out and give it my very best and show that I'm still ambitious.

"I've got five matches left and I'm going to savour every minute."

After trying to help Toulouse overcome some mediocre form of late in the Top 14, Pelous - after consultation with his wife Florence and Toulouse coach Guy Noves - will look to his future career off the field.

Although he is prepared to study how to become a club manager, he is widely expected to play a leading role within the France 'A' set-up.

"I've got a few projects lined up, one of which is to start studies on how to become general manager of a sports club - not necessarily to become manager but to have a solid grounding in how clubs function," he said.

"Right now I have no definitive role, but the fact that I want to go through this managerial training period will give me a global perspective on things, to which I can add my experience.

"The France 'A' team go on tour to Romania in June and there's a good chance I'll be there."

Pelous admitted that part of his decision to retire was motivated by his desire "not to end my playing career feeling frustrated".

"Today I'm not at all frustrated but who knows how I would feel if I'd decided to extend my contract for another year," he said.

"That's why I prefer to end my career now. Now when I look back I realise that my career hasn't been all that bad.

"After talking about my future with my wife Florence and with Guy (Noves), I realised it's the right time for me."

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