Bok’s Super active midfielder ” Fourie” announced his retirement from international rugby on Thursday, ironically at the same time he extended his lucrative contract with Japanese club Kobelco Steelers and shortly after turning down an offer to play for the Cell C Sharks in next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
It is a decision that definitely would send a gale of shock to the spine of most buck players at the camp and one which raises questions about coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans for wining next year’s Rugby World Cup. His decision to unexpectedly and suddenly retire from international rugby is a massive clout to the Springboks’ plans to win the Rugby World Cup next year.
This retirement was confirmed on the Union Sports Group player management agency’s official website, where he confirmed that he will no longer be available for Springbok selection.
“After much consideration, with regards to my current career status, I have decided to not make myself available for any international matches,” Fourie said in a statement on the agency website.
“I have chosen to remain focused on continuing with my current club, Kobelco Steelers.
“The decision to retire from the international stage was not an easy one, but I am looking forward to what the future holds for myself and my family.”
His decision follows the announcement by veteran lock Botha last Saturday that he will also no longer be available for Test selection, but will continue his career with French club Toulon.
Fourie left South Africa in 2011 to play in Japan.
A legend of the game and still regarded as amongst the best outside centres in the world, injury curtailed his recall to the Springbok squad this year.
He achieved a tremendous amount in his career including Try of the Year in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
One of the biggest and most skilful backs in the time in the international arena, Fourie’s 28 Test tries at centre (in 58 Tests in this position) is the most by a Springbok in the midfield.
At the end of 2011, he had scored a total of 32 tries in 70 Tests, placing him third behind Joost van der Westhuizen and Bryan Habana on the all-time list.
Along with Jean de Villiers, he holds the Springbok record for the most Tests as a centre combination (29).
Fourie will continue with his current club, Kobelco Steelers.