Veteran Bulls midfielder Jaco Pretorius has retired from rugby after battling a back injury all season and acting on medical advice, bringing an end to a succesful 14 year career.
The capped Springbok midfielder and former Springboks Sevens captain has won a Currie Cup title with the Blue Bulls and consecutive Super Rugby titles with the Bulls since joining the side in 2008.
The 32-year-old Pretorius admitted that caling it a day was a very difficult decision.
“It is with great thanks and appreciation that I announce my retirement. I was so blessed in the 14 years of top flight rugby and words cannot describe the pride with which I pulled on my playing kit every time I could go out there, whether it was in red, blue or green,” he said.
“I injured my back again during rehabilitation and after seeking the opinions of specialists, was advised to quit, so my retirement comes earlier than planned. I could not have played my last game at a better place than at the Bulls. To win trophies and play with legends of the game was a special privilege.
“To every coach, member of management and player that shared the game with me, thank you and good luck for the future. I am excited about life outside of rugby, to spend time with my wife and kids and to embrace new opportunities,” he added.
Head of rugby at the Blue Bulls Company, Heyneke Meyer, said it was sad news for the union.
“Jaco was not only a quality player with a proven record when he joined us he also provided leadership and a great ability to put the team first. His arrival in Pretoria and the success the Bulls and Blue Bulls had after that with him as a regular starter was no co-incidence. He will be missed and remembered by those who were lucky enough to play with him,” he commented.
Pretorius played in 48 Super Rugby matches and 87 provincial matches with the Blue Bulls and Lions, to add to his two Tests, 23 sevens tournaments for South Africa, which included a Sevens World Cup tournament and two matches for the Barbarians.
Although his experience at outside centre will be missed the Bulls have plenty of cover in the midfield after recently signing the exciting Johann Sadie from Western Province and a few young SA Schools midfielders from Grey College in Bloemfontein.
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