Cape Town - Springbok and Cheetahs loose forward Juan Smith has announced his retirement from rugby due to an ongoing Achilles injury which has plagued him since February 2011.
The 31-year-old - who missed most of the last two seasons due to the injury - confirmed the news of his retirement to Volksblad's
sport editor, Hendrik Cronjé
, on Monday.
Smith made his return to the playing field after a two-year absence against the Stormers last Saturday, and also had a solid game for the Cheetahs against the Bulls over the weekend.
However, an MRI scan on Monday forced the 69-Test veteran to call it a day.
Smith thanked his fans and family for standing by him through trying times.
"Were it not for the fans and my family, then I probably would have made the decision to retire much earlier.
"It was the fans who gave me the courage to - after several disappointing operations - attempt to make a comeback to the rugby field this year.
"I appreciate all the support I received through the years from my family, Bok- and especially Free State supporters."
Smith will now take a week-long holiday with his family, before deciding on the next step in his life.HAVE YOUR SAY:
Juan Smith will surely go down in history as one of the greatest-ever Springbok players. How will you always remember him? Send your well-wishes to Smith for his future endeavours to Sport24