Former Springbok number eight Pierre Spies announced his retirement from rugby earlier this week, writing a heartfelt statement on his website. The 32-year-old physical specimen earned 53 Test caps and played for the Bulls, Montpellier and Japanese side, Kintetsu Liners.
Spies made his Test debut against Australia in 2006 and went on to score his first ever try for the Boks against England in his hometown of Pretoria in 2007 (see below). The try was a sensational effort that saw him beating four players, announcing himself to the rugby world.
He forged a career with the Bulls before moving to Montpellier in France in 2016, but was released earlier this year, after coach Jake White made way for Vern Cotter.
He is clearly still in good shape though, and looking as powerful as ever in the gym.
Spies, who is married with three children, thanked everyone involved in his career, stating that he is looking forward to the next chapter.
“As a professional rugby player, I have thought a lot about this day. It is a moment every player is destined for, and yet you cannot control how and when you accommodate it in your life. Much speculation has been going around the past two months about my rugby career and the way forward,” the letter read.
“This statement confirms my retirement from all forms of rugby. It has been a wonderful journey and one I will remember for the rest of my days, but it is the end of a chapter in my life.
“It is impossible to give credit to all people who contributed towards my career and please do not see an omission of any name as an absence of gratefulness on my part.”
He went on to thank family, friends and everyone from junior coaches to White and Heyneke Meyer.
“I could’ve continued playing rugby but Ive decided to stop my career because I believe its the right time to start the next chapter of my life. There are many things which motivates me to make a decision like this – family, faith, future, and my purpose.
“I believe I can make an impact in this world and have a passion for sharing my faith, encouraging youth and caring for the poor & broken in society. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life filled with excitement and wonder – and I believe the best is yet to come!”
We wish him and his family all the best for the next chapter of their lives.
Below is a look at his outstanding first ever try in Test rugby, vs England in 2007