Raphaël Ibañez is a retired French rugby union footballer. A hooker, he was also a former captain of the France national team.
After his first international retirement following the 2003 World Cup, he moved to Saracens. In 2005 he moved to Wasps on a two-year deal. In the first match of the following season, he was made captain as a replacement for the injured Lawrence Dallaglio.
He was also heavily responsible for London Wasps‘ win in the 2007 Heineken Cup final, playing in the same side as fellow Six Nations captain Phil Vickery. Wasps beat long-time rivals Leicester at Twickenham in former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio’s last match, and Ibanez scored one of Wasps‘s tries.
Ibañez continued to play for Wasps until suffering a series of what ultimately proved to be career-ending head injuries in late 2008. On 28 February 2008, Wasps announced that Ibañez and the club had agreed on a contract extension that would see him serve as a specialist forwards coach in the London Wasps Academy, as well as play for the senior side, during the 2008–09 season. On 5 August 2008 Ibanez was named as successor to Lawrence Dallaglio to take over the captaincy at London Wasps.
On his 36th birthday, 17 February 2009, Ibanez announced his retirement from all rugby as a player. He suffered a concussion in a match against Worcester Warriors in September 2008, and suffered further head injuries in two later games. Whilst completing a two-month rest period, he continued to suffer symptoms from his injuries during training sessions, and ended his playing career on medical advice.
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