Ibanez to quit as Bordeaux coach

In five seasons under Raphael Ibanez, Bordeaux-Begles progressed from 12th place to seventh the past two seasons which helped them qualify for the European Cup

Former France international captain Raphael Ibanez announced Monday he will quit as coach of Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles at the end of the season.

"Following consultation with the players, staff and president Laurent Marti it seems that changes are underway," said Ibanez.

"I'm confirming today that I'll leave Bordeaux-Begles at the end of the season."

The 44-year-old Ibanez, capped 98 times for France including 41 as captain, joined Bordeaux in 2012 after finishing his playing career in England, first with Saracens and then Wasps with whom he won the European Cup in 2007.

"It's understandable that after five years at the head of the team, I notice there's a certain disenchantment among the players," said Ibanez, who had a year left on his contract.

"It's said that 'love lasts three years' but with me it's lasted five years with this team! I'm proud to have contributed to the development of this club."

In five seasons under Ibanez, Bordeaux progressed from 12th place to seventh the past two seasons which helped them qualify for the European Cup.

But reaching the play-offs and a Top 6 place seems like a glass ceiling.

"This year, despite a promising second place in November, the results weren't up to expectations, those of the team, but also of course the sponsors and fans," said the former Dax, Perpignan and Castres player.

Amid growing discontent in the locker room, the backroom staff was rejigged in the past two weeks with lock Tom Palmer and prop Jean-Baptiste Poux moving into coaching roles.

On Saturday, without Ibanez -- in Rome acting as a pundit for France Television for the Six Nations tournament -- Bordeaux effectively secured their Top 14 survival by beating Grenoble 46-14.

"Since I took over at 2012, we have tried to produce an attractive and efficient game with the aim of progressing in the Top 14 hierarchy," said Ibanez -- who had been touted among Philippe Saint-Andre's successors as France coach.