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Ex-France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili to retire at the end of the season

The elegant Biarritz playmaker will hang up his boots at the conclusion of the current Top 14 campaign.

Yachvili whips away a pass against Ireland in 2011.
Yachvili whips away a pass against Ireland in 2011.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

DIMITRI YACHVILI HAS announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old scrum-half won 59 caps for France over the course of his career, helping them to four Six Nations titles, two of which involved Grand Slams [2004 and 2010].

In club rugby, Yachvili claimed two French championships with Biarritz, as well as finishing runner-up in the Heineken Cup twice. An Amlin Challenge Cup winners medal in 2012 was his most recent honour.

This season has been a tale of frustration for Yachvili as he has been unable to prevent Biarritz from being relegated out of the Top 14. Despite several moments of typical class, the scrum-half’s form and influence have faded.

Recent rumours linked Yachvili with moves to Toulon and Lyon, with the feeling being that the Brive native still had something to offer on the pitch. However, in an interview in this morning’s edition of L’Équipe, Yachvili admitted that his playing days were coming to a conclusion.

It’s time for me to bring an end to my career,” the 33-year-old said. “I feel that my body needs to stop.”

Dimitri Yachvili 12/3/2005 Playing against Ireland in 2005. Source: INPHO

Yachvili paid credit to his father, Michel [who was also a France international], for the guidance he had offered throughout his career. ‘Le Yach’ made particular mention of the encouragement his father had provided before a move to Gloucester in the 2001/02 season, which kick-started his young career.

Thereafter, Yachvili became a leading star of the French game, imposing himself on the international scene with his composure, intelligence, natural passing accuracy, kicking ability, and moments of pure invention.

There was something of the throwback in his sneakier side too, as Yachvili never allowed his 84kg frame prevent him from getting involved with opposition enforcers. It remains to be seen what the scrum-half does next season, but a swift move into coaching is easy to imagine.

Biarritz have three league games left in the current season, starting with the trip to play Racing Métro tomorrow night. It would be no surprise to see Yachvili go out with a spectacular bang.

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Murray Kinsella

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