Springbok captain Jean de Villiers on Sunday announced his retirement from international rugby, following a jaw fracture he sustained in a Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Samoa on Saturday.
The 34-year-old De Villiers, who captained the Boks 37 times, has retired as the second most capped Springbok captain of all time, and is currently the fourth most capped player in the history of South African Test rugby, with 109.
“When I got injured yesterday [on Saturday] and I left the field, I knew that I had played my last Test for South Africa,” said De Villiers, who became the 54th Springbok captain when he was appointed by Heyneke Meyer in June 2012.
“Injuries are part of rugby and I’ve had my fair share, so by now I know how to cope with them. It’s very sad, but life goes on – I need to take it all in and move forward.
“The last time I got injured in a World Cup match and had to go home, was in 2007, also against Samoa, and that finished well for the Boks, so hopefully it will happen again.
“I was quite sad on the one hand when I came off the field, as I knew I won’t get the opportunity to play for my country again. Having played for South Africa for 13 years, I’ve been fortunate to experience so many great things and I got to know so many good friends, but you never think it would end like this.
“It has happened now and I’ll be eternally grateful for the time I’ve had in the Springbok jersey. I would like to wish the team all the very best and as a former Springbok, I’m now their number one supporter.
“They still have a massive game this weekend, and I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but rather to focus on the task at hand against Scotland.
“In Heyneke they have a wonderful coach who knows what it takes to succeed, and who has given me the opportunity to lead my country for the last four years. I will be eternally grateful to him.”