World Cup winner Francois Louw will retire from playing at the end of the 2019/20 campaign in England. The Bath flanker has made 134 starts in 140 appearances with the club, but will now quit following nine seasons in the Premiership.
The 34-year-old Springbok told bathrugby.com: “Bath is a city that we call home now, my family and I have settled here and representing the club so many times has been one of the many highlights of my career.
Global Rapid Rugby ready for lift-off
“While this has been an incredibly tough decision to make, the time does feel right to face a new challenge. Right now, however, my focus is with Bath and I will give everything to the club as our sights are set on making the playoffs and winning further silverware.”
Following retirement, Louw will be looking to transfer his renowned turnover exploits on the rugby field to that of a different kind in the finance industry, as he is now a qualified financial advisor with the London Institute of Banking and Finance.
With 76 international caps for South Africa under his belt, his last coming at the recent World Cup in Japan, the back row has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning over a decade.
Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper added: “The contribution Francois has made to our club cannot be overstated. I have had the privilege of being by his side as a player and working with him now as director of rugby and his experience, commitment and world-class skill have been a mainstay of Bath for nine seasons.
“He gives absolutely everything every single time he pulls on the Bath colours – whether on the training ground or on matchday – and we cannot ever ask for more than that. These characteristics will serve him well as he moves on from rugby and while we wish him the very best for his future, we will all miss him incredibly.
“Personally, I’m thrilled he has chosen to stay in Bath and will look forward to seeing him at the Rec as well as around the city.”
By the time of his Springbok debut Louw had already racked up 50 appearances for Western Province as well as forming part of the Stormers’ highly-successful back row trio alongside Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen.
Having started in their Super 14 final defeat to the Bulls in Soweto in 2010, Louw was rewarded with a call-up to the South Africa squad for their June Tests. He debuted against Wales in Cardiff before scoring his first Test try in a rout against France at Newlands, his home ground in Cape Town.
WATCH: Schalk Brits speaks to RugbyPass about his experiences bringing the William Webb Ellis trophy back to South Africa.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.