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Back injury forces Blitzbok skipper Snyman to retire

Philip Snyman, who debuted for the Blitzboks in 2008 and was part of the historic squad who won their first World Series title that season, also was an Olympic Games bronze medallist in 2016.

Philip Snyman putting in the hard yards at a Blitzbok training session.Picture: @Blitzboks/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman has announced his retirement from all rugby following a career-ending back injury.

The 32-year-old three-time HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champion ends his international career for the Blitzboks as South Africa's most successful captain, leading his country to two World Series crowns and a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.

Snyman said it was a bittersweet moment 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,” said Snyman, who also represented the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions.

“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.

“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”.

Snyman, who debuted for the Blitzboks in 2008 and was part of the historic squad who won their first World Series title that season, also was an Olympic Games bronze medallist in 2016.

In all, Snyman played in 62 World Series tournaments and 276 matches for the team, scoring 69 tries and 15 conversions for a total of 376 points, while he captained the side in 28 tournaments. He represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cups in Dubai (2008), Moscow (2013) and San Francisco (2018), making him the only Blitzbok to play at three RWC7s tournaments.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander wished Snyman well in his future endeavours and said the player earned every accolade, trophy and medal that came his way.

“Philip’s ability to bring the best of out the Blitzboks was only one of his wonderful strengths as a captain,” said Alexander.

“Under his leadership, the Blitzboks always played until the final whistle and his humility in his captaincy was always a hallmark of him as a leader.”

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said it was a privilege and an honour being part of Snyman's career for so long.

“I played with him and then coached him and in both roles he excelled,” said Powell. “It was never about himself and our system benefitted 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.”

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