World Cup winner Francois Louw will proudly hang up his boots at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, Bath Rugby today confirms.
The flanker has made 134 starts in 140 appearances and will retire at the end of the current campaign, following nine seasons at the Club.
The 34-year-old Springbok will finish his career this season as one of the longest-serving players in Bath Rugby’s squad, having been with the Club for nine seasons in what has been an incredible domestic and international career.
Fittingly, the famous Blue, Black and White shirt will be the last he pulls on as a professional player, after making over 140 appearances to date for the Club and settling in the City with his young family since first arriving in England.
Louw said: “Bath is a City that we call home now, my family and I have settled here and representing the Club so many times has been one of the many highlights of my career.
"Whilst this has been an incredibly tough decision to make, the time does feel right to face a new challenge. Right now, however, my focus is with Bath and I will give everything to the Club as our sights are set on making the playoffs and winning further silverware.”
Following retirement Louw will be looking to transfer his renowned turnover exploits on the rugby field to that of a different kind in the finance industry, as he is now a qualified financial advisor with the London Institute of Banking and Finance.
With 76 international caps for South Africa under his belt, the back row has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning over a decade. His career with Bath began on 22 October 2011 in a try-scoring 46-13 winning debut against Worcester Warriors in the LV Cup.
His impressive record since then has seen him rack up over 10,000 minutes of rugby in the Blue, Black and White, and become a real supporter’s favourite for his unquestionable commitment, consistent performances and constant threat around the breakdown.
Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper shared his thoughts on Louw’s outstanding contribution to the Club: “The contribution Flouw (Francois Louw) has made to our Club cannot be overstated. I have had the privilege of being by his side as a player and working with him now as Director of Rugby, and his experience, commitment and world class skill has been a mainstay of Bath for nine seasons.
“He gives absolutely everything, every single time he pulls on the Bath colours – whether on the training ground or on matchday – and we cannot ever ask for more than that. These characteristics will serve him well as he moves on from rugby and whilst we wish him the very best for his future, we will all miss him incredibly.
"Personally, I’m thrilled he has chosen to stay in Bath and will look forward to seeing him at the Rec as well as around the City.”
During his career Louw has appeared in Club colours for Bath Rugby, the Stormers, Western Province and on the international stage for South Africa and the Barbarians.
The back row had the following message for the Blue, Black and White faithful:
“I would like to thank the fans and the city of Bath for the continued support over my career. It has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Rec will always have a very special place in my heart with memories that will last me for the rest of my life.”
By the time of his Springbok debut Louw had already racked up 50 appearances for Western Province as well as forming part of the Stormers' highly-successful back-row trio alongside Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen.
Having started in their Super 14 final defeat to the Bulls in Soweto in 2010, Louw was rewarded with a call-up to the South Africa squad for their June Tests. He debuted against Wales in Cardiff before scoring his first Test try in a rout against France at his home ground, Newlands.