Cecil Afrika, one of the most decorated Sevens players to feature on the World Series circuit, has retired, somewhat by default.
After 12 seasons, Afrika will not play for the Blitzboks again after a mutual agreement between the player and Springbok Sevens management.
Afrika’s national contract is due to expire at the end of July, but with no further fixtures scheduled until then, the 2011 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year has had his last hurrah.
Afrika, who made his debut in Dubai in 2009, played in his final and 66th tournament for his country in Vancouver in March this year. He was part of two World Series-winning Blitzbok squads (2017 and 2018), as well as the South African team that won Commonwealth Games gold (2014) and Olympic bronze (2016) medals.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell confirmed the departure of Afrika, and was quoted by the official South African Rugby website as saying:
“It is one of those inevitable things in professional sport, but even so, it remains a sad day to say goodbye to Cecil when his contract expires,” said Powell.
“He has been a great in the game, his achievements speak for itself and he inspired many to enjoy the game of sevens.
“I played with Cecil when he made his debut in 2009 and in the last couple of years, had the privilege of coaching him as well. He was a truly gifted player who came back from some serious injuries more than once to achieve amazing feats as a player and squad member.
“We will say goodbye to him in a more formal way later in the year, but for now the Springbok Sevens management would like to thank him for his contributions over the many years he has been with the Blitzboks.
“Cecil has set very high standards for those to follow and there is no doubt that he will leave the jersey in a better place, something every international rugby player strives for.”
Cecil Afrika by the numbers
Unceremonious as his retirement might be, Afrika has had an illustrious career.
His points tally puts him seventh on the all-time points scorers’ list and 17th of all-time for conversions, ninth for tries and 15th for matches played.
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