Newcastle Falcons’ former England lock Mouritz Botha has been forced to call time on his rugby career at the age of 35.
A Premiership title winner with Saracens back in 2011, Botha has made the decision on medical advice after failing to recover from a concussion suffered during the 2016-17 season.
Capped 10 times by England and playing Super Rugby for the Sharks in his native South Africa, the 6 foot 5 forward admitted it was a sad day but was able to look back on a successful playing career.
He said: “Although many players have mixed emotions when they call time on their playing days, I only have one overriding feeling – that I was truly blessed to have had enjoyed my time as a rugby player as much as I have done.
“I am extremely proud to have been able to represent England, an honour that I will always cherish, and to have won the Premiership with Saracens. Most importantly I have made some fantastic memories and friends for life at all the clubs I have played for along the way and I’ll always be indebted to the many people who helped me enjoy such a fantastic journey.
“I was very lucky to learn from some amazing coaches who turned me from a semi professional into an England international. It is for this reason I’m am now pursuing a career in coaching. I want to give players the same experience that I had.”