Jaque Fourie has announced his retirement from international rugby.
The 31-year-old, who was recently linked with a move to the Sharks for the 2015 season, has decided to stay in Japan rather than return to South Africa in a bid to earn selection for the Springboks' World Cup squad.
'I thought hard about my career status and decided to focus on my career at the Kobelco Steelers rather than make myself available for international rugby,' Fourie told Die Burger.
'It was a difficult decision to retire from international rugby, but I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me and my family.'
Fourie earned 72 Test caps for the Boks, the last of which came against France in Paris in November 2013. An ankle injury prevented him from playing for the national side this year.
Fourie was part of the Bok team that won the 2007 World Cup and also played in the 2003 and 2011 tournaments.
He joined the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan in 2011, before moving to the Kobelco Steelers in 2012.