South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss has announced he will quit international rugby at the end of the 2016 season.
The Springbok hooker took over the captaincy of the side this year, but says he informed new coach Allister Coetzee of his plan to retire before being handed the role.
“The plan was for me to serve and lead a team in transition as well as I can and take things week by week, but back then I already told him that I was thinking of retiring at the end of the season,” Strauss said in a statement from the South African Rugby Union on Thursday.
“I’ve always accepted the pressure and the challenge of playing for and captaining the Springboks. I feel it’s the right time to let my team mates and our supporters know of the decision I made, with a greater plan in mind.”
Coetzee hinted that Strauss’s appointment as the Boks’ 57th Test captain was always a short-term move.
“I’ve known since day one that Adriaan was planning to retire at the end of 2016, but he is a vital component in our team and his role has been part of our succession planning in any case,” he said.
“He is a magnificent servant of the game in South Africa and doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. At a time when most players of his generation decided to move abroad, Adriaan chose to remain here, ploughing back into the game.”
Strauss, who has 59 Test caps, led the Boks in a fortituous 2-1 home series win over an injury-depleted Ireland in June and the home victory and away loss to Argentina in The Rugby Championship last month.
The Boks’ next fixture is against Australia in Brisbane on September 10.