Cheetahs flank Gerhard Olivier has announced his retirement from all rugby with immediate effect.
The 27-year-old sustained a serious neck injury in a PRO14 match against the Dragons in Wales earlier in the year.
According to a report on OFM, Olivier was set to make a full recovery, but further prognosis revealed the injury was more serious than initially thought, so much so that medical practitioners recommended that he end his playing career.
‘I injured my neck 15 minutes into the last game that we played in the PRO14 against the Dragons. I was tackled from behind and I was kind of pegged head first in the ground. I kept on playing, but the neck injury was way worse than what we expected,’ he told OFM.
‘I expected to make a full recovery being back in training with the boys now. With a mindset where you think everything is fine, then it is not, is pretty devastating.
‘It has been a tough couple of months. During the lockdown, there was a lot of time to spend with my family and process this on my own. At the union, there were a lot of questions, but the lockdown gave me time to make peace with it.’
Olivier played his entire career in Bloemfontein – first for Grey College and the Free State youth teams, then for Shimlas in the Varsity Cup and for the Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, Super Rugby and PRO14. He was part of the Cheetahs’ Currie Cup-winning squad last year.
‘I have been thinking about what I am going to miss the most. Obviously being active and busy, but a major thing for me is that I am going to miss the boys the most. One gets used to being around the guys and teammates the whole time. You are colleagues but you share much more than being normal colleagues.
‘I will definitely miss being around them, having coffees on tour and having a laugh. It is entertaining spending time with them, having a jol while also working. You know, just passing a ball on the field, joking around while having a good sweat and working hard.’
Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images