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TOP 14    

Watch: Guirado slides into retirement with his Top 14 celebration

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

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Ex-France hooker Guilhem Guirado enjoyed a rousing send-off after playing the final match of his stellar professional career, helping Montpellier to win its first-ever Top 14 title on Friday night. Naturally enough, the French team’s post-game celebrations were raucous, everything from multiple champagne-popping moments to having a bath with the Bouclier de Brennus trophy and so on. 

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However, one 16-second video tweeted by the official Top 14 Twitter stood out. Titled ‘When Guilhem Guirado slid serenely towards retirement’, it showed the 36-year-old taking a run from one end of the Montpellier dressing room. He then slid headfirst into the Bouclier which was being held by two players at the other end of the room and let out a guttural roar. 

It was a weird celebration from Guirado in the sense that his playing career had ended earlier than anticipated on the night as he failed a head injury assessment following a 26th-minute collision with Castres captain Mathieu Babillot.

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Guirado was capped on 74 occasions for France between 2008 and 2019. He spent nine years at Perpignan before switching to Toulon for five years and then signed for Montpellier for the 2019/20 season that followed his retirement from Test level rugby with France. 

He was a Top 14 title winner in 2009 with Perpignan and waited 13 years to win the trophy again, this time with Montpellier who demolished Castres with a quick-fire three-try start at the Stade de France.  

Montpellier boss Philippe Saint-Andre was thrilled that Guirado had a winning farewell. “Very happy, yes. I’m also happy for Mohed Altrad. He was criticised a lot but invested a lot of his time and his money in this adventure. He had the courage to call me two years ago to get me back in the game. 

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“And then, I’m obviously happy for these guys who come from different backgrounds and who form a great entity with us: there are those who are at the end of their career, like Guilhem Guirado or Fulgence Ouedraogo, those coming from Pro D2 like Alexandre Becognee or those who needed to be revived like Bastien Chalureau or Florian Verhaeghe.”

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