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 Francois Louw (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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

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