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Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup

James calls it quits

James calls it quits

THE SPRINGBOKS' most capped first five, Butch James, has announced his retirement from test rugby with immediate effect.

“I’ve had a great career playing for South Africa, the Sharks, Bath and the Lions, but I’m not getting any younger and I knew this was the right decision to make, even though it was very difficult,” he says.

“I think I’ve got one or two more years of rugby left in me and all I want to concentrate on at this stage is to give nothing less than 100 percent on the field and enjoy my game.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a long career playing at the top level and I’ll look back at my time with the Springboks with nothing but fondness."

The 33-year-old, who was a member of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning side, played 37 of his 42 tests between 2001 and 2011 in the No 10 jersey. His last test was against Wales at the last year’s RWC.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who invited James to the planning camp that started in Pretoria on Sunday, says he was sad to see someone with James’ experience retire.

“Butch was an integral part of the Springbok team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and he’s been a great servant of the game over more than a decade. He contacted me to inform me of his decision to retire and I respect that.

“I really wanted to have him here with us, as he brings a wealth of experience with him and it would have been great for many of the younger players to work with him, but I understand that he wants to concentrate on his career with the Lions and I can’t fault that.”

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