Internationals

Former Springboks captain du Preez retires

Former South Africa scrum-half Fourie du Preez has called time on his illustrious rugby career at the age of 34.

Du Preez made 76 appearances for the Springboks and played a key role in his country's World Cup triumph in 2007.

The playmaker came out of international retirement in 2013 and stepped in as captain after an injury ended Jean de Villiers' World Cup campaign last year.

Du Preez stated after the 2015 World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand in England that it may be time to retire and the veteran confirmed on Thursday that he has hung up his boots.

"Rugby has been such an integral part of my life in the last two decades, so a lot of deliberation and thought have gone into my decision to retire," Du Preez said in a statement.

"I was fortunate and blessed to play the game I loved for 15 years and for that I'm very grateful. The friends, memories and life experiences I made will last a lifetime."

Du Preez, who played 164 games for Bulls and Blue Bulls before moving to Japanese Suntory Sungoliath in 2011, has been hailed as a legend by South Africa Rugby president Oregan Hoskins.

"Fourie du Preez will go down in the annals of South African rugby as one of the most decorated players ever," said Hoskins.

"While his unique and superb playing skills have been lauded over the years, he also showed his mental strength when he took over the captaincy of the Springboks at a difficult time last year, leading the team with aplomb.

“He has beaten the All Blacks and Wallabies more times than he's lost against them and has an overall winning percentage of just over 71 per cent with the Boks.

"His contribution to the game in South Africa, at all levels, will be remembered for many years with a host of young scrum-halves having had the opportunity to play with and learn from him.

"Hopefully he will return to the local game and contribute in other capacities in the future."