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Au revoir, Hari! French back-row bruiser Harinordoquy is retiring from rugby

French veteran was nominated for IRB Player of the Year in 2010.

Harinordoquy in action against Ireland during the 2012 Six Nations.
Harinordoquy in action against Ireland during the 2012 Six Nations.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

FRENCH BACK-ROW IMANOL Harinordoquy will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old announced his decision on Friday morning, with his contract with Toulouse coming to an end this season.

“The decision came quite naturally, knowing that I had already prepared to call it a day two years ago after a very complicated season at Biarritz, the club’s relegation, and a knee that was really suffering,” he told L’Equipe.

Harinordoquy launched his professional career with Pau in 2000 before joining Biarritz in 2004. The flanker stayed with the Basque club for 10 years before moving to Toulouse in 2014.

Capped 82 times for France, the forward was part of three World Cup squads (2003, 2007, 2011) and was twice crowned Top 14 champion with Biarritz (2005, 2006), with whom he also made two Heineken Cup finals (2006, 2010).

He was nominated for IRB Player of the Year in 2010 but beaten to the award by Richie McCaw.

“This season, I’ve haven’t played full games,” he said, having managed just five 80-minute performances out of 23 games played for Toulouse.

“I feel it’s become too difficult to recuperate – my knee no longer allows it. So it’s a good time to stop.”

In 2011 Harinordoquy’s father Lucien famously raced onto the pitch to intervene in a scuffle which broke out between Imanol and two Bayonne players.

Source: ESPNscrum/YouTube

© – AFP 2016; additional reporting by Niall Kelly

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