South Africa flanker Juan Smith has been forced to retire because of an Achilles injury.
Smith had been out of action for almost two years and after attempting a comeback last month in a Super Rugby warm-up match he has admitted defeat.
"Were it not for the fans and my family, I probably would have decided much earlier to announce my retirement," Smith told Volksblad newspaper.
"But it was the fans who helped me muster the courage every time after the disappointment of an operation to return to the football field to try again this year.
"I appreciate all the support that I have got with my family over the years from Bok and especially Free State (Cheetahs) fans."
Smith, 31, played 69 Tests for South Africa and was one of the outstanding performers in their 2007 World Cup victory in France.
He captained the Springboks in his last game for his country in 2010 against the Barbarians, but he then injured his Achilles in early 2011 and has never recovered.
He also won the 2009 Tri-Nations with South Africa, and the Currie Cup in 2005 with his home province, Free State.