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International

Another Springbok 10 forced to retire

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Photo by Manus van Dyk/Gallo Images/Getty Images

South African rugby has suffered major blows during recent weeks. Just weeks ago, Pat Lambie was forced to retire from the game after being advised to do so by doctors.

Now it has emerged that former Springboks and Western Force flyhalf Peter Grant has also been forced to retire from competitive rugby. The 34-year-old Grant was advised to hang up his boots after receiving advice from specialists with regards to his past head injuries.

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My season as a professional Rugby player has come to an end and I need to say goodbye to this great game that has been my life and that I absolutely love. Unfortunately it’s not on my own terms, but I’m no spring chicken so I can accept that my time wasn’t too far round the bend. It’s been a tough pill to swallow, but looking back there’s so much to be thankful for and I am now getting excited for what lies ahead. I just want to thank our Lord for blessing me with this season in my life, for being with me every step of the way. Thank you to my beautiful wife, for believing in me, supporting me through thick and thin, and bringing the best out of me. I couldn’t have wished for a better teammate to tackle life. Thanks to my kids, Nova, John and Luke, for being my biggest fans and giving me such purpose and strength. And keeping me extra fit!! To my family and friends who have followed me over the years, thank you for all your support and constructive criticism. Mom and Dad, thanks for putting a rugby ball in my hands. Thanks to all my teammates who I have shared the field with and have helped create so many memories. And to all you legends I’ve played against, it was a real fight out on the pitch, but I’m going to miss those post match beers for sure. Thank you to all my coaches, medical staff and team management. You have all played a pivotal role in my growth as a player, and a person and I am grateful for the wonderful friendships we have developed. And last but not least. A huge thank you to my faithful fans and loyal sponsors. From Cape Town, to Kobe, to La Rochelle and to Perth. You guys have been awesome! I am really going to miss the thrill of kicking a conversion from the corner, making that final pass, that crunching tackle on the advantage line at the back of the line out, running out under the lights to the sound of a full house and finally seeing the joy on your faces after the final whistle. Thank you, Arigato gozaimashita, Merci beaucoup, Cheers.

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Grant is sad to be bidding the game farewell earlier than he would have expected. However, he is also excited to be getting the opportunity to spend more time with his family.

“There is a lot of excitement because now I get to go to the games and watch it with my kids though it’s going to be a challenge. It is also going to be a big change and I am excited for that,”  he said.

“But initially it was shock and then disappointment and uncertainty because this is all I know, and I was really getting geared up for another season. You go through the phases and there is a lot of emotion about that.”

During his career, Grant turned out for the likes of Western Province, Stormers, Kobelco Steelers, La Rochelle, Western Force and Perth Spirit.

He also represented South Africa Schools, South Africa U-19, Barbarians, Emerging Springboks and earned five caps for the Springboks between 2007-08.

International

World Cup Winning Springbok to retire.

Hanging up the boots.

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Photo by Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Worcester Warriors’ World Cup-winning centre Wynand Olivier has announced that he will retire from playing at the end of the season.

Olivier’s glittering career includes 38 Springboks caps, a World Cup winners’ medal as part of Jake White’s triumphant squad in France in 2007 and Super Rugby and Currie Cup success with Bulls in South Africa.

Olivier, 35, joined Warriors from French Top 14 club Montpellier in October 2015 and made his 50th appearance against Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup at Allianz Park last November.

“I have had a long career and made some great memories. have been very privileged to play the game I love for so long,” Olivier said.

“It will be undoubtedly be an emotional experience leaving the game but I’m excited about what the future holds and to follow my ambitions outside of rugby.”

As a World Cup-winner Olivier is a member of one of rugby’s most exclusive clubs but winning trophies is only one part of his career.

“I think people define success in different ways. I’m proud of what I have achieved. However, it is about looking forward and maintaining the ambition and drive that I have learnt from rugby into my transition,” he said.

“I have made a lot of friends along the way and these relationships have only made my career more enjoyable.”

A serious hamstring injury restricted Olivier’s availability last season but he returned to play a pivotal role in the memorable European Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais in Paris in October.

He helped Warriors reach the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup this season and has also helped to develop the next generation of Warriors players with the Cavaliers in recent Premiership Rugby Shield matches.

“It has been great to see youngsters come through the academy and see them reaching their potential. That has been very satisfying,” Olivier said.

“Obviously I had that injury last year where I tore the hamstring off the bone. Injuries are part of the rugby experience but it has allowed me to pass on my experience to some of the younger athletes and I have enjoyed working with them.”

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons, a former South Africa assistant coach. Said: “Wynand has had a terrific career. He is a superb rugby player, a wonderful bloke and a great team man.

“He is the consummate professional. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with him. We wish Wynand all the very best for the future.”

Article from Worcester Warriors

He joins Rory Best in announcing his retirement this week. Best announced that he will retire from the game post Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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6 Nations

Rory Best to retire.

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has confirmed that he will retire from professional rugby when his current contract expires after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Best will bow out with a hugely impressive list of honours and will go down as a legend of the modern game, having spent 15 seasons at the top level.

Rory began his rugby development at Banbridge RFC, with whom he is still involved, while he also played at Portadown College and Belfast Harlequins RFC on route to the professional game.

He made his competitive debut for Ulster in 2004 and has amassed 219 appearances to date, scoring 23 tries. He was a key member of the squad which won the Celtic League title in 2005/06.

Best is Ulster’s most-capped international with 116 appearances (10 tries) and has helped Ireland win the Six Nations Championship on four occasions, including two Grand Slam successes (one as captain).

Best’s leadership of Ireland is record-breaking; he captained Ireland to its first ever win against New Zealand in 2016 and has steered the country to second in the world rankings.

He was a member of the British & Irish Lions squad for the 2013 and 2017 tours to Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Best was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to rugby.

“It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby as of the end of this season,” said Best.

“This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged.

“I am very excited for the end of the season with Ulster Rugby and for the upcoming World Cup with Ireland, both of which I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game.

“In my 15 years at this brilliant club, I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people, and I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me since 2004.

“I grew up supporting Ulster Rugby, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster Rugby, and now look forward to supporting Ulster Rugby in the future with my family.”

Paying tribute to Best, Ulster’s Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham said:

“No player representing Ulster Rugby has had a more profound impact in the professional era than Rory.

“When Rory enters the room, everyone waits for his words. On the training pitch, he demands high standards at all times. During a match, players turn to Rory for leadership and direction. He has been our all-encompassing talismanic figure for more than a decade.

“Rory’s ability to not only stay at the top, but also fight his way through adversity, shows the strength of character he possesses.

“The ever-present support of the Best family on the side-lines, in particular Jodie, Ben, Penny and Richie, encapsulates Rory as the ultimate family man. We know that they will continue to follow Ulster Rugby for many years to come.

“Rory will justifiably go down as one of the greatest legends of Ulster and Irish Rugby.”

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6 Nations

Richards Claims 2003 World Cup Winners Cheated, Woodward Denies

Dean Richards has made some serious accusations to the RFU.

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Former Harlequins director of rugby and ‘Bloodgate’ scandal Dean Richards told the RFU that England’s 2003 World Cup winners cheated in a report.

He claims that his Harlequins side were not the only team using fake injuries to win games and that the World Cup winners were doing so too.

The document, which was uncovered by a documentary on talkSPORT revealed what Richards had said.

“The use of fake blood, cutting players, re-opening wounds, feigning injury in the front row, jabbing players with anaesthetic all occur regularly throughout the game,” he said.

When asked about giving examples by former RFU head of discipline Jeff Blackett he accused the English team.

“RWC 2003. England used faked blood,” he said.

Richards, who was banned from rugby for three years in 2009 for his part in the scandal in which players used fake blood to be taken off as blood substitutions has been shut down by 2003 coach Clive Woodward.

“This is simply not true. I am not sure why Dean raised this. I have never been involved in anything like this. It is ridiculous,” he said.

He also said that the claim was “absolute nonsense”.

It appears as though the RFU have nothing to worry about this time around as it seems like Richards is trying to stir the pot once more in the rugby world.

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