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RUGBY

French rugby legend Chabal set to retire

The iconic former French international Sebastien Chabal, or "The Beast" as he was more affectionately known, anounced on Monday that he will retire from the sport next weekend. See some of his best moments in these videos.

French rugby legend Chabal set to retire
Sebastian "The Beast" Chabal is retiring from rugby, the star announced on Monday. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

The 36-year-old Chabal won 62 caps for France as a powerhouse lock and back row forward, and his last act will come on Sunday when he turns out a final time for Lyon, his current club which he has helped seal promotion from the ProD2 to the Top 14.

"On Sunday I will call a halt to my career as a rugby player and a high-level sportsman," Chabal said.

"I realise how lucky I've been, and to have the opportunity to call it a day with a title and finish the mission for which I came: helping Lyon win promotion."

Chabal, standing 1.91 metres tall and weighing 115 kg, became a cult figure in rugby circles with his barn-storming style of play allied with his thick black beard and flowing locks.

It allowed the forward to become one of the best paid rugby players in France thanks to lucrative commercial contracts that played on his on-field reputation and shaggy look.

Chabal played for Bourgoin (1998-2004) and English club Sale (2004-2009) before switching to Racing Metro in 2009 and then moving on to Lyon in 2012.

He played in two Six Nations-winning French sides in 2007 and 2010, and was an English Premiership winner in 2005 at Sale.

Such was Chabal's international draw, he even made a one-game cameo for minor Australian club side Balmain against Petersham in 2012 as a curtain-raiser to a Waratahs v Reds Super Rugby game.

The video below, posted on YouTube is a tribute to the legend of French rugby.

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RUGBY

French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months

French rugby was left mourning the death of a 23-year-old student on Monday, the fourth young player to have died in eight months.

French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months
Photo: AFP

Nathan Soyeux, who was not registered with the French rugby federation (FFR), passed away in Dijon on Sunday, having been admitted to hospital after an adverse reaction to a tackle in a match at a tournament for engineering schools on November 24.

Soyeux sustained the blow whilst being tackled by an opponent and was at first able to sit up before complaining of nausea and then losing consciousness.

Taken to Dijon hospital, the player was put in an induced coma for two weeks, but his health deteriorated following efforts to bring him around, according to his engineering school, Esirem.

Soyeux becomes the fourth young French player since May to die after being injured during a match.

In December, Stade Francais youth flanker Nicolas Chauvin, 18, died after breaking his neck. In August Louis Fajfrowski, 21, died following a heavy tackle playing for Aurillac and in May 17-year-old Adrien Descrulhes passed away a day after receiving a blow to the head playing for amateur club Billom.

Chauvin's death prompted France's Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu to call on rugby authorities to make the game safer, with the former Olympic swimmer saying she would meet FFR president Bernard Laporte to discuss ways of preventing more deaths.

The FFR confirmed in December it will put together a global forum alongside World Rugby, the sport's governing body, to discuss player health and the evolution of the game's laws in March 2019 in France.

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