Toulouse skipper and former France captain Thierry Dusautoir is retiring at the end of the season, the influential back row star announced on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old captained France a record 56 times, and won three Top 14 titles and a European crown in a storied career with Toulouse.
He was named World Player of the Year in 2011 after leading his country to a World Cup final defeat to New Zealand.
“If I’m emotional it’s because I’m finishing my rugby playing career at the end of the season,” he told a press conference.
“It’s a very special moment, charged with emotion for me but not sadness, as I’m going to be enthusiastically pursuing a new opening which I’ve begin to develop, a second life as a businessman.”
He reflected on the massive influence rugby has had on him.
“The decision one day to come along and put on boots and a pair of shorts literally changed my life and turned a timid kid into one who had confidence in himself.
“This sport has changed my life and I owe it a great debt.”
He added: “I never thought I’d go on to have the career that I did.”
Dusautoir joined Toulouse in 2006, winning the French championship with the club in 2008, 2011 and 2012, and the European title in 2010.
He brought the curtain down on his 80-cap career with France after a humiliating 62-13 loss to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals.
He first donned a France shirt in 2006, and one year later burst onto the world stage at the 2007 World Cup, making his name against New Zealand in the quarter-final with a try and 29 tackles.
His heroics that day lifted France to a famous 20-18 win and earned him the nickname “The Dark Destroyer”.
Dusautoir will now be hoping he can match the success he’s had on the pitch with his digital marketing and food import-export companies.—AFP