Former France No.8 Louis Picamoles has announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old, who currently plays for Bordeaux-Bègles, represented Les Bleus for more than a decade, winning 82 caps in all before retiring from international rugby after the 2019 World Cup.
The following season he suffered a serious knee injury but this year he has been in good form with Bordeaux.
However, Picamoles explained that the time has come to hang up his boots, with a new project in mind.
He said: “I saw Christophe (Urios – the Bordeaux-Bègles coach) a few days ago to speak to him. The coach said he thought I looked good but I didn’t want to take the risk of doing a season too many.
“He understood. I will be 36 in February, my body and my head agree that now is the time. I’ve also found what I want to do afterwards. With my wife Maïlis, we want to start an organic goat farm and it’s time to start that project.”
Picamoles made his debut with Les Bleus in 2008 as part of a young squad under Marc Lièvremont – coming off the bench in a win over Ireland at the Stade de France to become France’s 1000th Test player.
Three years later he was part of the French team that reached the 2011 World Cup final in New Zealand.
At club level Picamoles won two Top 14 titles with Toulouse, as well as one European crown and he is also enjoyed great success in a single season in England with Northampton Saints.
Picamoles scored ten Test tries for France, the last of which came against Wales in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
With 82 caps, he is level with Imanol Harinordoquy, his long-time rival for the No.8 jersey, as France’s tenth most capped player of all time.