Thierry Dusautoir

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Thierry Dusautoir
Birth nameThierry Dusautoir
Date of birth (1981-11-18) 18 November 1981 (age 42)
Place of birthAbidjan, Ivory Coast
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Weight100 kg (220 lb; 15 st 10 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Openside Flanker
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
US Colomiers
Correct as of 25 August 2015
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Correct as of 17 October 2015

Thierry Dusautoir ([tjɛ.ʁiʁ]; born 18 November 1981) is a French former rugby union player who last played for France at international level and Toulouse in the French Top 14 club competition.[2] Dusautoir was considered a strong ball carrier and possessed incredibly powerful and effective tackling. He broke the record for most tackles in a match, making 38 tackles against the All Blacks in the 2007 World Cup. He was considered one of, if not the best tackler in the world.[citation needed]

He first played for Bordeaux-Bègles before moving to US Colomiers for one season, and then signed with Biarritz. He played in the final of the 2005-06 Heineken Cup at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which Biarritz lost to Irish team Munster 23–19. Despite losing the Heineken Cup, Biarritz did manage to win the final of the 2005-06 Top 14 40–13 against Toulouse. He was however part of the side that won the 2010 Heineken Cup final.[3]

Dusautoir was the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2011, the second French player to win the award. He also owns the record of most tackles in an international rugby game (38 tackles against New Zealand in 2007).[4]

International career[edit]

Dusautoir was called up into the French squad for tests during June 2006 against Romania and the Springboks.

He made his debut for France in a test against Romania on 17 June 2006 at Cotroceni Stadium in Bucharest, Romania, which saw France defeat the Romanians 62–14 and Dusautoir scoring a try on his debut. He played in the subsequent match against the Springboks at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town with France again emerging as the victors. He left Biarritz and signed for Toulouse in 2006.[5]

He is perhaps most famous for his try against New Zealand in the quarter-final of the 2007 World Cup in Cardiff in which he famously made 38 tackles, two more than the entire All Blacks side. He was nominated for world player of the year solely on this performance.[citation needed] His second-half score helped France to a 20–18 victory over the tournament favourites, despite the fact that he was not in the original 30-man squad and was only called up as a replacement for the injured Elvis Vermeulen. He also captained France to a famous 27–22 win over New Zealand in Dunedin on 13 June 2009. He was linked with Leinster Rugby where he would have replaced Rocky Elsom.[citation needed]

2011 Rugby World Cup[edit]

Dusautoir captained France to the 2011 Rugby World Cup final against the hosts New Zealand, in which he scored France's only try (one of two for the entire game) in the 47th minute (New Zealand's Tony Woodcock scoring the other for the All Blacks) and made 22 tackles, for which he received the Man of the Match award. On the night of the final, one could hear chants of "Dusautoir" coming from the many bars showing the game around the Auckland waterfront.[6] He was named the 2011 IRB International Player of the Year, thus becoming the second player from France to win the award after former captain Fabien Galthié in 2002. Dusautoir won the award over players such as Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu.[7][8][9]

In an interview on Total Rugby in July 2012, Dusautoir spoke about a perceived lack of respect towards his team during the 2011 World Cup.[10] He cited a particular picture from the New Zealand Herald in the week leading up to the final which showed Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg laughing during training, with the caption '80 minutes before laughing'.[10] Dusautoir also shared about how France's uncomplicated game plan in the final nearly resulted in a memorable upset:

Our strategy in that match was to resist as long as possible. Having seen the way we were playing throughout the tournament we were aware that we were not at the same level as the All Blacks. That was pretty obvious. But by this time we were sure we were mentally prepared and we were ready to make the most of the opportunity... During the match we played well but we would have liked to have scored a drop goal on top of the great defence we produced. But we played an uncomplicated game and that is ultimately how we managed to surprise them so much.[10]


France's new head coach Philippe Saint-André retained Dusautoir as captain for the 2012 Six Nations Championship, in which France finished fourth.

On 21 October 2012, in a Heineken Cup match against Treviso, Dusautoir twisted his knee in a tackle, suffering a twisted lateral ligament with a slight tear. The injury is expected to sideline him for four to six weeks, meaning that he would miss the 2012 November Tests.[11]

On 11 January 2013, Dusautoir was named in the initial training squad for the 2013 Six Nations Championship, but Saint-André decided to retain Pascal Papé as captain in order to give Dusautoir time to ease his way back into the international team.[12]

Dusautoir lead France to the knockout rounds of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where they played against New Zealand in the quarter-finals, losing 62–13. Dusautoir announced his retirement from international rugby following the tournament.

He is the second French captain after Fabien Pelous to have beaten Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

International tries[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Result (F–A) Competition
1 17 June 2006 Cotroceni Stadium, Bucharest, Romania  Romania
Test Match
2 16 September 2007 Stadium Municipal, Toulouse, France  Namibia
2007 Rugby World Cup
3 6 October 2007 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales  New Zealand
2007 Rugby World Cup
4 25 February 2009 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France  Wales
2009 Six Nations Championship
5 21 November 2009 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France  Samoa
Test Match
6 23 October 2011 Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand  New Zealand
2011 Rugby World Cup final







Personal life[edit]

Dusautoir was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He has a French father and Ivorian mother. He did not take up rugby until he was 16; before that, his favourite sport was judo.

He is a graduate chemical engineer.[13] He also studied in MBA program at Emlyon business school.[14]


  1. ^ "Thierry Dusautoir". Official 2011 RWC Site. International Rugby Board. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "News, Scores, Results, Features". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Biarritz 19-21 Toulouse". BBC. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  4. ^ (in French)The Dark Destroyer was born on the 6th october 2007
  5. ^ "My Rugby World Cup hero: Thierry Dusautoir". Planet Rugby. 18 August 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Thierry Dusautoir leads one of the greatest losing performances in defeat to New Zealand". Daily Telegraph. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Dusautoir crowned IRB player of year". ESPNscrum. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  8. ^ "France's Thierry Dusautoir named player of the year by IRB". Daily Telegraph. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Dusautoir named rugby player of year". CBC Sports. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "Dusautoir lifts lid on France's World Cup campaign". ESPN Scrum. 18 July 2012.
  11. ^ "France captain Thierry Dusautoir set to miss autumn Tests". BBC Sport. 21 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Pape to captain France in Six Nations". ESPN Scrum. 11 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Thierry Dusautoir: The gatecrasher". The Independent. 13 October 2007. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Lessons in leadership for rugby legend Thierry Dusautoir". Financial Times. 6 December 2020. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by French national rugby union captain
Succeeded by