Francois Louw (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
- Popular Springbok ‘Flo’ Louw will not wait indefinitely for Premiership rugby to resume: he has played his last match.
- He has been a stalwart at Bath’s Recreation Ground since 2011.
- Louw says nobody could have predicted the pandemic and he is comfortable with stepping down just ahead of turning 35.
The sports-disrupting impact of Covid-19 has taken a toll on veteran Springbok loose forward Francois Louw as he retires without the opportunity for a proper swansong match for Bath.
Louw has been a popular and yeoman-serving figure at the English Premiership club since 2011, including stints as captain.
He quit Test rugby after the 2019 World Cup in Japan – having earned a winner’s medal from it, and a total of 76 Springbok caps – and then revealed earlier this year that this would also be his final campaign (2019/20) for Bath.
But the season came to a grinding halt in March, with Bath lying sixth with seven wins from 13 completed Premiership fixtures and it now seems the earliest prospect of a restart is in mid-August.
“Flo” told Sport24 from the UK on Thursday that his final league game would have been last weekend – against Saracens at their Allianz Stadium headquarters in north London – under more conventional circumstances, unless Bath had cracked the playoffs.
The semi-finals would have been set for this weekend, with the Twickenham final on June 20.
“Yes, unfortunately there won’t be a swansong game for me,” he said.
“This is a decision (to retire) I made a while back … no-one could have predicted a global pandemic.
“So this is my final month as a pro rugby player and I have made my peace with that.”
Bath may choose to honour the legacy of the former Stormers/WP player in a different way when rugby finally restarts; he is remaining in the UK as he seeks a foothold in the financial services industry.
Louw turns 35 on Monday.
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing