Springbok captain and Laureus Ambassador 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, who captained the Springboks 37 times, is currently the fourth most capped player in the history of South African Test rugby, with 109.
De Villiers’ grit and determination to wear the Springbok jersey with pride has never been in doubt, none more so than his incredible fight back from what could have been a career-ending knee injury in November 2014, to be fit and named Springbok captain for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking on the Official Springboks Website, Jean said: Speaking on South Africa's official website, De Villiers said: "When I got injured and I left the field, I knew that I had played my last Test for South Africa. 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"
The South African legend has been a supporter of the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation since being announced as an Ambassador earlier this year. De Villiers, who joins fellow Springboks Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits in the Laureus family, said:
“It’s such a great honour to be a Laureus Ambassador, I think the fact that we can change young people’s lives is such a great gift. If we can give them the tools to do that through sport, I think there’s no better way to learn, and I’ve certainly learnt so much through sport in my career."
Vice Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy and former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick, paid tribute to de Villiers:
“Jean will go down as one of the top rugby players of all time, he was a fine ambassador both on and off the field. His tragic luck when it comes to participating in Rugby World Cups is well documented and the whole rugby world was willing him to come through the 2015 tournament.
“From an All Black to a Springbok, I want to thank Jean for all he has done for rugby throughout his career and I know I speak for the whole Laureus Academy in wishing him well for the future.”