Maritzburg College’s finest – former Shark and World Cup Winner Andrew David James – has opted to retire from test rugby at the age of 33, according to a press release from SARU.
James burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced youngster just around the turn of the century, winning rave reviews and scathing criticism in equal parts for the robust style of play that helped the Sharks reach the Super 12 final in 2000, but also copped him a fair few cards along the way. James quickly developed a reputation as somewhat of a reckless tackler and this penchant for no-arm hits, coupled with a series of debilitating knee injuries, restricted his prospects at national level, after playing 9 tests under Rudolf Straeuli between 2001 and 2002.
Jake White, though, threw James the proverbial lifeline and he went on to establish himself as first-choice flyhalf during White’s reign, a trend which continued to an extent under Peter de Villiers as well. While his knees ever remained a source of concern, James nonetheless managed to keep them going long enough to earn a total of 42 caps, with the 37 earned at flyhalf making him the most-capped ever in that position. He last played for the Boks during last year’s World Cup, coming on as a replacement against Wales in the opening match.
“I’ve had a great career playing for South Africa, the Sharks, Bath and the MTN Lions, but I’m not getting any younger and I knew this was the right decision to make, even though it was very difficult,” said James.
“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% 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.”
Cheers and all the best, Butchie! You’ll certainly be missed and your efforts on behalf of the Boks will not soon be forgotten.Tweet