France hand Ibanez the armband

02nd Jul 2007, 13:30

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Ibanez: An old hand at being the captain

Ibanez: An old hand at being the captain

France have revealed that hooker Raphael Ibanez will captain the side during the World Cup later this year, taking over from previous captain Fabien Pelous.

France have revealed that hooker Raphael Ibanez will captain the side during the World Cup later this year, taking over from previous captain Fabien Pelous.

"It's an accepted fact, Raphael is the captain for the entire World Cup because he was there in the final straight," said team manager Jo Maso.

"This decision hasn't been taken lightly. We telephoned our players a lot, and Fabien when he was recovering. We talked a lot with Raphael because he has been the captain of the team for the entire season."

Ibanez, 34, currently plies his trade with London Wasps and previously captained his country in the 1999 World Cup where they eventually lost in the final to Australia.

Since then Pelous has been the mainstay captain although there are growing concerns over his fitness as the World Cup rapidly approaches.

"We just were not sure until the last moment that Fabien would be fit enough and we did not want to put more pressure on him," said Maso.

"The fact that the two of them are the best of friends made it a lot easier to make the change."

Maso added that Pelous did not officially have the title of vice-captain but added: "If Raphael isn't there, Fabien will be captain for that match."