Harinordoquy calls time on career

Date published: May 20 2016

Toulouse loose forward Imanol Harinordoquy has announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the Top 14 season.

The Bayonne-born number eight made his debut back in 1999 when he helped Pau reach the Top 14 semi-final which qualified the Stade du Hameau outfit for the European Challenge Cup the following year.

He made 47 appearances for Pau before moving to Biarritz at the end of 2004, where he spent ten years amassing over 200 game for the club.

It was in 2014 that he made the move to French giants Toulouse. The former France hardman, who scored more than ten tries while on duty for les Blues, made his debut in 2002 in a Six Nations clash with Wales and won 82 caps before retiring ten years later.

"I will stop at the end of the season," he told French newspaper 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 36-year-old back-rower reflected on a successful career not only at club level but also for country.

During his time in the national side, France won five Six Nations titles which included three Grand Slam seasons and he was also part of the 2011 World Cup final squad that narrowly lost out to the All Blacks.

"It has come quite naturally, knowing 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," Harinordoquy said.

"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."