Guilhem Guirado, farewell with great pomp

Guilhem Guirado (In the center) celebrate their qualification for the final at the end of the semi-final of the Top 14 between Montpellier and Bordeaux, in Nice, on June 18. NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP

At 36, the ex-captain of the XV of France hangs up his crampons on Friday after the Top 14 final.

The countdown has been on for months, since Guilhem Guirado announced that he would bow out at the end of this season. The end clap, at 36, of an intense career as a professional rugby player started in 2006 at Usap, his training club, a few months after being crowned world champion under 21 with the Bleuets. 74 selections will be added with the XV of France, from 2008 to 2019, including 32 as captain of the Blues. At the worst time. The one where they ran from disappointment to failure.

He never gave up despite adversity. Accepting criticism after each defeat, each distressing rout (like this quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup, swept away by the All Blacks 62-13…). The prescription passed, the hooker had authorized himself, at the end of March in the columns of Olympic noon, to look back on this dark period. “Some players just didn’t have that high level requirement. And then, few of them were captains in…

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