Former Springbok Spies retires from rugby aged 32

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Former South Africa back-row forward Pierre Spies has brought an end to his professional career at the age of 32.

Spies, who played largely as a number eight, was capped 53 times by the Springboks and scored seven tries.

He was initially included in Jake White's squad for the 2007 World Cup but was forced to withdraw after blood clots were found on his lungs and watched on as his team-mates lifted the Webb Ellis Cup by beating England in the final.

Spies spent the 2016-17 campaign in the Top 14 with Montpellier and, still at a relatively young age, has opted to step away from the game to begin "a new chapter" in his life.

"This statement confirms my retirement from all forms of rugby. It has been a wonderful journey and one I will remember for the rest of my days, but it is the end of a chapter in my life," Spies said on his official website, followed by a long and heartfelt list of thank yous to friends, family and colleagues.

"I could've continued playing rugby but I've decided to stop my career because I believe it's the right time to start the next chapter of my life. There are many things which motivates me to make a decision like this - family, faith, future, and my purpose.

"I believe I can make an impact in this world and have a passion for sharing my faith, encouraging youth and caring for the poor & broken in society.

"I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life filled with excitement and wonder - and I believe the best is yet to come!"