Cloete calls it a day

Former South Africa “A” and DHL Western Province flank Chris Cloete will retire from rugby at the end of the season, Premiership side Bath confirmed.

Cloete will retire from rugby at the end of the current 2023-24 season, after two Premiership campaigns in England with Bath.

The 33-year-old joined Bath in 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 Vodacom URC Turnover King prize, the all-action back row made 26 appearances for the Blue, Black and White.

“What a way to end my career at such a prestigious club,” Cloete said.

“My last two years here at Bath have been fantastic. I just want to thank everyone who has been part of my journey. Through lows and the highs, I’ve loved every minute of it, and it’s moulded me into the person I am today.

“To all the supporters that are there ALWAYS come rain, hail, snow, and the lows – you guys are awesome!

“To all the coaches and staff that have always backed me, I really appreciate you and couldn’t have done it without you.

“Lastly, thanks to my family, your sacrifices haven’t gone unnoticed. We have loved our life in Bath, and it became our home. Up and onwards to new adventures.

“Hamba kakuhle!”

Bath also confirmed that former Vodacom Bulls and Junior Springbok captain GJ van Velze will be joining Cloete in retirement at the end of the season.

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 Bulls as well as representative age-group teams in South Africa.

Photo: Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images

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