Statement: Bath duo have confirmed their retirements - Ruck

Statement: Bath duo have confirmed their retirements

GJ van Velze and Chris Cloete will retire from rugby at the end of this current 2023/24 season, both players have announced.

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Van Velze has decided to call time on a stellar career which has included more than 150 Premiership appearances across three different clubs, spanning over a decade.

The utility forward joined Bath following successful spells at Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors.

Prior to his time with Bath, for whom he has made 20 appearances, van Velze skippered the Blue Bulls as well as representative age-group teams in South Africa.

Fellow Springbok, Cloete, joined Bath in the summer of 2022, following time at Munster, Southern Kings, Western Province, and Pumas.

Capped for South Africa ‘A’ and recognised for his breakdown skills winning the 2020/21 Pro14 Turnover King prize, the all-action back row made 26 appearances for the Blue, Black and White.

Van Velze said: “After much reflection and countless conversations with my family, I’ve decided that this season will be my last and that I will step away from the game I love so much. As a kid, running around in my Springbok jersey, watching Chester Williams score in the opening round of the 1995 World Cup, I could only dream of the journey this sport would take me on.

 “There are far too many people to thank individually for their contribution to my career in this message – coaches, staff, supporters, players, and friends. I have been living my childhood dream for 18 years and I am grateful to each one of you for making it possible.

 “I particularly want to extend my gratitude to my family. My parents, who travelled thousands of kilometres to watch my games. My sisters, who joined every tour over the years. My wife, Menanta, who followed me to the UK. GJ Jnr, my son, it was a privilege to carry you onto The Rec.

 “Thank you all for your sacrifices, support, and love.

 “As I step away from the game, I am excited to rip into the next challenge with new goals and new adventures. I will cherish all the memories I’ve made during my time at the Blue Bulls, Northampton Saints, Worcester Warriors, and lastly Bath – a place where I fell back in love with rugby.

 “I feel humbled and honoured to think that I’ve gone from a kid with a dream, playing barefoot rugby, to playing in some of the most amazing stadiums around the world. Rugby is such a fantastic sport – it brings together people from all corners of the earth, it is filled with amazing opportunities and the life lessons it teaches should never be underestimated.

The 33-man England Squad Steve Borthwick Should Select For Summer Tour

It’s been a decade since England’s last visit to New Zealand, a challenging 2014 series under Stuart Lancaster resulting in a 3-0 defeat.

The memories of the 2008 tour aren’t any sweeter, with England tasting defeat in both Tests against the All Blacks. However, a glimmer of triumph emerged in 2003, as they secured a thrilling 15-13 victory over New Zealand just before the Rugby World Cup.

In this highly anticipated tour, Borthwick’s squad will face a formidable challenge with only two tests against the All Blacks, following a clash with Japan in Tokyo.

Here is the list of our predicted squad organised by their current clubs:

RUCK’s England squad for the summer:


  • Joe Marler
  • Fin Baxter
  • Chandler Cunningham-South
  • Marcus Smith

Bristol Bears

  • Ellis Genge
  • Harry Randall
  • Gabriel Ibitoye


  • Jamie George
  • Theo Dan
  • Maro Itoje
  • Ben Earl
  • Elliot Daly