Fabien Pelous established himself as a regular on the French rugby national team and the number 8 went on to become the most capped French player in history and it was on this day in rugby history that Pelous was born in 1973.
In a national team career that started in 1995 and ended in 2007, Pelous earned 118 caps for Les Bleus and captained the side 42 times. He earned 100 of his caps playing lock and when he retired was the most capped lock in the world, a distinction that was eventually overcome by South Africa’s Victor Matfield.
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Pelous took over as France captain before the 2004 Six Nations and led the team to a Grand Slam victory. He equaled and then set the record for French caps against England in 2007 as the team prepared for the Rugby World Cup.
After starting his club career at US Dax, Pelous moved to his hometown club, Toulouse. He helped Toulouse to 3 French titles and 3 Heineken Cup titles.
Pelous was called a ‘natural leader’ but his club coach Guy Noves and when it was time to retire he stepped aside gracefully.
"I have no regrets, even though the desire to play is still there and might still have been there for another two or three years," Pelous said of his retirement. "I'm expecting some difficult times because I know that the desire to keep playing will not disappear overnight."
"Today I'm not at all frustrated but who knows how I would feel if I'd decided to extend my contract for another year," he said. "That's why I prefer to end my career now. Now when I look back I realise that my career hasn't been all that bad."
1858 – Ned Haig, Orgainzed first rugby 7’s tournament
1968 – Mark Geyer, Australian rugby league footballer
1973 – Fabien Pelous, French international rugby player