Cape Town - Springbok front-row legend Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira has paid an emotional tribute to former team-mate Pat Lambie who has been forced into retirement at 28.
READ: TRIBUTE: Pat Lambie - The perfect squad guy
Lambie, who played 56 Tests for the Springboks and 71 Super Rugby matches for the Sharks, confirmed he was hanging up his boots on Saturday.
series of head injuries and the resulting medical advice has left the
fullback and flyhalf with no choice but to cut his career short.
Lambie's last appearance in the green and gold came in a 27-13 defeat against Wales in Cardiff in
It was in June of that year when Lambie had his
first serious head injury when he was knocked out cold by Ireland's CJ Stander at
Newlands in Allister Coetzee's first match as Springbok coach.
then suffered another head injury when he collided with team-mate Rhyno
Smith while on Sharks duty against the Kings in Super Rugby in May,2017.
A fractured eye socket playing for Racing 92 in their Top 14
match against Oyonnax was the next unfortunate incident, followed by a season-ending knee injury
Shortly after the news broke, Mtawarira, who was both a Springbok and Sharks team-mate of Lambie's, took to Twitter to pay his respects.
Mtawarira wrote, "Gutted to hear of your premature retirement brother @PatLambiegreat player, great career, great teammate and a better friend. All the best with the next chapter".
Besides his 107 caps for the Springboks, Mtawarira has played 150 Super Rugby matches for the Sharks.