Cape Town - Former Springbok No 8 Pierre Spies insists he retired from rugby on his own terms, but has taken a swipe at French club Montpellier for the manner in which they dismissed him.
The 32-year-old last month announced his retirement from professional rugby.
He earned 53 Test caps for the Springboks and played for them in three positions - No 8 (48 games), flank (four games) and one match on the wing against the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
Spies earned a total of 119 caps for the Bulls between a 2005 and 2015, before joining the Kintetsu Liners in Japan for one season.
He then joined former Bok coach Jake White at Montpellier in 2016, but was released two years early from his contract after Vern Cotter replaced White as head coach of the Top 14 club.
In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Spies said he was informed of his axing 10 minutes before a press release was issued by Montpellier.
“In terms of the way in which I was told my services were no longer required, surely the club could have done it in a much better and more professional manner,” Spies said.
“I believe there are better ways to manage players and, while each team dynamic is different, the industry is quite cut-throat. That’s the way it is over in France and I hope it doesn’t happen with too many players in the future. It was a rough time, but I’m very thankful for the fruitful career I enjoyed. It has been a wonderful journey and one I will remember for the rest of my days.”
Spies said it was the right time to end his playing career.
“I was planning on finishing my professional playing career at Montpellier and, even though I was released with two years still to run on my contract, I feel as though I left the game on my own terms. I could have continued playing rugby, but I decided to end my career because I believe the time is right to begin the next chapter of my life. The moment I made the decision to call time on my career - I wasn’t going to uproot my family and move again for rugby - I had peace in my heart.”