Veteran Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman has retired from international sevens rugby.
Snyman will hang up his boots after 63 tournaments with the Blitzboks, where he played 276 matches and scored 69 tries, 14 conversions and a penalty for a career total of 376 points.
The 32-year-old Snyman made his debut for the Blitzboks in the 2008-09 season in Dubai. He was part of the historic squad who won their first World Series title that season as well as Olympic Games bronze in 2016. He represented South Africa at the Sevens Rugby World Cups in Dubai (2008), Moscow (2013) and San Francisco (2018), making him the only Blitzbok to play at three such tournaments.
Furthermore, he captained the side in 28 tournaments across three seasons between 2016 and 2019 – a run that includes leading the team to back-to-back World Sevens Series titles in 2017 and 2018.
Snyman ends his international career for the Blitzboks as South Africa’s most successful sevens captain.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said Snyman will leave a void, but also a legacy.
‘I played with him and then coached him and in both roles he excelled. It was never about himself and our system benefited tremendously from having someone of Philip’s calibre as a leader and as a player, always available and willing to contribute, often at his own expense. He drove and lived our culture and this team and many players in it are better people because of that,’ Powell said.
‘Philip was a big supporter of developing a leadership group in the squad and mentoring and helping those identified as future leaders and both of us are comfortable knowing that we expanded that leadership base to the benefit of the squad.’
Snyman said it was a bittersweet emotion when he heard that it is all over.
‘It is a reality for any rugby player that his career may be cut short by injury at any given time, and I was blessed in many ways to have played for more than a decade.
‘In a perfect world, one would prefer to end your career on your own terms, but I am not complaining. Rugby brought me so many brilliant memories and afforded me so many opportunities, and my path crossed with such a diverse and wonderful group of people. I will be forever grateful for that,’ Snyman explained.
He added: ‘Looking back on my career, it is incredibly humbling to realise that the list of individuals, organisations and sponsors that I need to thank could go on and on. However, it would only be fitting to start with every person I ever called a teammate. Not only did we celebrate together; we did the hard yards together. Thanks for having my back on and off the field. I can truly call you brothers,’ said the midfielder turned forward.
‘The three coaches who shaped my career – Pine Pienaar, who believed in me before there was much to believe in; Paul Treu, who first believed in me as a sevens player and Neil Powell, who believed in me as a person. Coach Neil – I have the greatest respect for you and will always regard you as a mentor. Thank you.’
Snyman concluded: ‘To every supporter – you are ultimately why we do what we do. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worn the No 2 Springbok Sevens Jersey for more than 60 tournaments and am now returning this jersey for the next player to make his own.’
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix