Gaetan Barlot has scored four tries in 22 games in all competitions for Castres this season

Paris (AFP) - Castres hooker Gaetan Barlot said on Thursday he will be “proud” to come up against “gentleman” Guilhem Guirado in the former France captain’s last game in the Top 14 final.

Montpellier hooker Guirado will retire after Friday’s match in Paris.

The 36-year-old made the last of his 74 Test appearances at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in an international career which included a runners-ups medal at the 2011 global showpiece.

He won the European Cup with Toulon in 2015.

Barlot is at the other end of his time as a player, aged 25 and has just four Les Bleus appearances.

“In my youth he was the hooker I watched on television,” Barlot told reporters.

“He’s had a really good career. Playing against him is a real moment of pride. I will play against one heck of a gentleman, who led France in a period when things didn’t go well.

“I have a lot of respect for the man. Tomorrow I can’t wait to play well against him,” he added.

Guirado made light of the significance Friday’s final, as he makes his 431st senior appearance for club and country.

“We’ve prepared and we’re staying focused on the common objective of the team,” he told reporters.

“Individualities are put aside in these moments. I know what we can base on to build our match,” he added.

Barlot made his France debut during last July’s tour to Australia having played fewer than 40 games of second-tier rugby with Colomiers.

In November, he came off the bench in the emphatic win against New Zealand but will not travel, like all other Top 14 finalists, with France’s squad for their tour to Japan next month.

“Last year when he came from Colomiers he came in the shadows. He’s very discreet,” Castres centre Thomas Combezou said.

“He’s started to mark his territory more and more. We saw it with France during the summer tour to Australia, we saw it against the All Blacks.

“He’s a player who has a great future ahead of him and every weekend proves it on the field with Castres,” he added.