Following the news that Riki Flutey, James Haskell and Tom Palmer will be leaving for France this summer, London Wasps have been dealt a further blow after Raphael Ibanez announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.
The Wasps club captain has been forced to call time on his career on medical grounds after suffering a number of complex concussions.
Ibanez was initially concussed in a club match against Worcester Warriors in September of last year and has since suffered similar injuries against Leinster and Sale.
The announcement comes on Ibanez’s 36th birthday, a few days after the Frenchman was reassessed by the Wasps neurosurgeon and neurologist following a two-month recommended break from the game.
Although Ibanez had attempted to ease his way back into training, the symptoms remained and he has been advised that playing again could pose a serious risk to his health.
Ibanez joined Wasps in 2005 and played 67 games from the club, winning the Powergen Cup, the Heineken Cup and the Guinness Premiership.
The Dax-born hooker skippered France to the Rugby World Cup Final in 1999 and has made more World Cup appearances than any other Frenchman with a total of 16.
Ibanez won 98 caps for his country, making his debut back in 1998 and last representing France in the third-place play off at the 2007 World Cup.
He will continue his involvement with Wasps, working with the coaches and players this season throughout the rest of the season.