Springbok eighth man Duane Vermeulen has officially confirmed what was one of the worst kept secrets in rugby, that he is retiring from international duty.

Widely regarded as the greatest Springbok number eight of all time, Vermeulen has won the World Cup twice. He is also one of just a handful of players who have been named SA Rugby player of the year on multiple occasions. He won the award in 2014 and again in 2018.

Paying tribute to Vermeulen SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said: “Duane will forever be regarded as one of the real hard men of South African rugby – he was not only a formidable force for the Springboks, but also a multifaceted player who consistently delivered his best.

“As someone who preferred to operate away from the limelight, Duane was one of those players who never settled for second best and always gave everything he had to his team.

“He was a leader who captained South Africa in four Tests, but he also retired as the most-capped Springbok No 8 with two Rugby World Cup winners’ medals – a wonderful achievement for a player who will be remembered as a true legend of the sport.”

“Duane made a massive impression wherever he went, and looking at his achievements all over the world, it’s clear that he was not only a Springbok great, but a superb ambassador for South Africa,” added Alexander.

“I know Duane still has a lot to give back to our wonderful game, but as his playing career comes to an end, on behalf of the entire South African rugby family, I would like to thank Duane for his selfless service to his country and the Springboks, as well as his provincial unions.

“I would like to wish him, his wife, Ezel, and their two sons, Anru and Zian, the best for their future.”