Cape Town – Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman has announced his
retirement from all rugby following a career-ending back injury.
The 32-year-old three-time 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, 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.”
Alexander thanked Snyman for his contributions to
South African rugby over more than a decade: “His record speaks for itself and
he can retire with the knowledge that the Blitzboks are in a better place
because of his involvement. Thank you, Philip.”
“I played with
him and then coached him and in both roles he excelled,” said Powell.
“It was never
about himself and our system benefited 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.”
Powell said that
although Snyman’s career did not end on his own terms, his insistence on seeing
the bigger picture will help to ease the blow.
“Philip was a big
supporter of developing a leadership group in the squad and mentoring and
helping those identified as future leaders and both of us are comfortable
knowing that we expanded that leadership base to the benefit of the squad,”
Snyman said it was a bittersweet emotion 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
Toyota Cheetahs in the Vodacom 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.
“However, it would only be fitting to start with every
person I ever called a teammate. Not only did we celebrate together; we did the
hard yards together. Thanks for having my back on and off the field. I can
truly call you brothers, said the midfielder turned forward.
“The three coaches who shaped my career – Pine Pienaar,
who believed in me before there was much to believe in; Paul Treu, who first
believed in me as a sevens player and Neil Powell, who believed in me as a
person. Coach Neil – I have the greatest respect for you and will always regard
you as a mentor. Thank you.”
Snyman also thanked his family: “To my family: my wife
and my daughter, you are my safe haven; and Mom and Dad, thank you for shaping
me and affording me the opportunity to pursue rugby as a career.
“A big thank you also to SA Rugby and the entire
Springbok Sevens Management staff.”
Snyman concluded: “To every supporter – you are
ultimately why we do what we do. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worn
the No 2 Springbok Sevens Jersey for more than 60 tournaments and am now
returning this jersey for the next player to make his own. Today I am retiring
as player with a full heart and no regrets. My gratitude is endless.”
– SA Rugby