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Heineken Cup Bids ‘Adieu’ And ‘Bonjour’

Heineken Cup Bids ‘Adieu’ And ‘Bonjour’

The landmark 15th season of the Heineken Cup is on the way and, while Springbok star Jean de Villiers is set to be one of the big name newcomers to Heineken Cup action, the tournament will also see the departure of some of its most famous and favourite sons and legends.

Fabien Pelous, who captained Toulouse to Heineken Cup final glory in 2003 and 2005, has called time on his illustrious career after accumulating 81 Heineken Cup appearances while leading both club and country with distinction.

Pelous, Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers) and Lawrence Dallaglio (London Wasps) are the exclusive trio who have captained two Heineken Cup-winning teams and Pelous is joined in the stands by former England and Leicester Tigers captain Martin Corry, himself a double winner in 2001 and 2002 under Johnson.

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And other proud owners of Heineken Cup final winners’ medals to hang up their boots are Munster pair Anthony Horgan (2006) and Frankie Sheahan (2008).

Meanwhile, former Wales captain Colin Charvis, the world’s leading Test try-scoring forward with 22 tries in 94 internationals, and fellow Wales cap Kevin Morgan have played their last matches for Newport Gwent Dragons.

Stade Francais saw the loss of Juan Martin Hernandez to South Africa and then changes in their coaching set-up with the departure of Ewen McKenzie, while Rob Moffat is the new man in charge at Edinburgh following the appointment and elevation of Andy Robinson to the national Scottish hot seat.

However, on the incoming side of the player balance sheet, Jean de Villiers has arrived in Ireland to play for Munster fresh from a truly memorable season.

First came the 2-1 Test series triumph against the 2009 British & Irish Lions, followed by a starring role in clinching South Africa’s first Tri Nations title since 2004.

The 28-year-old, who has scored 18 tries in 54 Tests for the Springboks and is his country’s most-capped centre, joins other southern Hemisphere players, All Black Jerry Collins (Ospreys) and Wallaby Sam Norton-Knight (Cardiff Blues), set to take their Heineken Cup bows.

And another All Black, Casey Laulala, is scheduled to link up with Cardiff before the second batch of back-to-back tournament rounds in December.