Morne Steyn has confirmed his retirement from international rugby.
The 37-year old won 68 Springbok caps, but will perhaps go down in history as the man who broke British & Irish Lions hearts not once, but twice.
After replacing first-choice kicker Ruan Pienaar during the 2009 series, Steyn kicked a late penalty from 58-yards to give the Boks an unassailable lead over the Lions.
Twelve years later, he repeated the trick with a pair of late penalties as South Africa beat the Lions 19-16 in their third and deciding test in Cape Town.
He was also the top-scorer at the 2011 Rugby World Cup with 62-points, despite his country only reaching the quarter-finals.
Steyn informed Springbok management he did not wish to be considered for next month's Northern Hemisphere tests.
“It’s a good time to make this decision,” Steyn told SuperSport, “I think it’s time to call it a day now.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about thinks and it has been difficult over the last few months being away from home with touring and being away from my kids.”
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and it has been difficult over the last few months being away from home with touring and being away from my kids.
“I said to Jacques that I haven’t been the No 1 choice for a while now, and it doesn’t make sense to wait for injuries for a chance to play.
"I have a year or two left in my career and I’d rather spend it playing for the Bulls than sitting on the sidelines. I really want to enjoy my last two years of rugby.”
Nienaber led the tributes to Steyn following his announcement.
“What can you say about Morne?! He has just been such a great servant to SA rugby, and was a brilliant player," said the head coach.
"Firstly, hats off to him for what he’s delivered on the field. Just look at the magic in terms of what he achieved against the Lions, beating them twice in the specific manner he did speaks volumes about his on-field impact.
“Off the field, it was also phenomenal to work with him over the last 20 weeks. He painted pictures [in training] to help the team and was never scared to share wisdom with the younger players. I could just talk and talk and talk about him.
“However, I think what tilted him towards retirement is that he’s a big family man. With the Covid restrictions, access in and out of the squad is not so easy, especially for family members to come in. And so that was a big contributing factor at this stage of his life and career.
“So, we just wish him well. He is such a fantastic guy, not just a fantastic rugby player!”
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