Springboks skipper Strauss to retire


South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss has announced he will retire at the end of the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old hooker only skippered the Springboks for the first time in June.

He was handed the armband despite informing new head coach Allister Coetzee, who took over in April, of his intention to quit later this year.

"When coach Allister approached me to lead the team, I was both humbled and honoured," Strauss said in a statement on the South Africa Rugby Union website.

"The plan was for me to serve and lead a team in transition as well as I can and take things week by week, but back then I already told him that I was thinking of retiring at the end of the season.

"I've always accepted the pressure and the challenge of playing for and captaining the Springboks, I feel it's the right time to let my team-mates and our supporters know of the decision I made, with a greater plan in mind."

Coetzee stood by his decision to appoint the Bulls forward, who oversaw a Rugby Championship loss away to Argentina last Saturday, following a home win over the Pumas and a 2-1 series victory against a touring Ireland team in June. 

"I've known since day one that Adriaan was planning to retire at the end of 2016, but he is a vital component in our team and his role has been part of our succession planning in any case," the coach said.

"He is a magnificent servant of the game in South Africa and doesn't always get the credit he deserves. At a time when most players of his generation decided to move abroad, Adriaan chose to remain here, ploughing back into the game.

"Adriaan has captained the team with great courage in the past few months, often rallying the players on the field when real leadership was needed. He has also led by example during the week leading up to our Tests - none of which the public sees."

Strauss made his debut against Australia in 2008 and has 59 Test caps. 

Form and fitness permitting, his final appearance could come against Wales in Cardiff on November 25.