Adriaan Strauss should be remembered as the ultimate team man as he heads toward official retirement, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, Strauss reflects on a Springbok career that spanned nearly a decade and included 66 Tests caps, and explains how a brief sabbatical last year helped him rediscover his love for the game.
After then heading into a productive pre-season with the Bulls, the 32-year-old has wound back the clock to produce some of his best form this season, while going on to become the most capped South African Super Rugby player, with 156 caps currently to his name.
Such a milestone is a testimony to the loyalty of a player who opted against heading along the ever-popular route of playing overseas, and his retirement has again been made with the team in mind.
‘I’m always open and honest about the fact I don’t want to be in a team environment if I can’t contribute positively to it,’ Strauss explained when SA Rugby magazine caught up with him midway through the Super Rugby season.
‘I know I’m coming towards the end of my career now and I won’t stick around for my own gain. When you get to a stage when youngsters need to come through, and when you’re contributing less than what you’re getting out, that’s when I’ll definitely finish up.’
Back in 2016, Strauss also caught many by surprise when he announced his international retirement soon after becoming the Springboks’ 57th Test captain.
His explanation of that decision also says everything about a rare breed of player who has remained part of the fabric of South African rugby for 14 years.
‘That [international retirement] wasn’t a quick or easy decision, and it wasn’t based on just one factor. But one of the things I definitely took into consideration was that I felt that the team needed to build towards 2019, and to get some continuity with leaders and players allowed to develop.’
The full article is available in the latest SA Rugby magazine, on sale now.
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