Springbok flank and 2007 World Cup winner Juan Smith has been forced to retire after the recurrence of an Achilles injury that had sidelined him for two years before his unsuccessful return this month.
Smith told the Volksblad newspaper that he had been forced to end his career because of the results of a scan after he hurt himself again in a Super Rugby warm-up game this weekend.
Smith made his return for the Cheetahs just over a week ago but hurt himself again in Saturday's match against the Bulls.
Volksblad said Smith made the decision to finally give up after the results of the scan came back on Monday.
"Were it not for the fans and my family, I probably would have decided much earlier to announce my retirement," Smith told the Afrikaans-language newspaper.
He said he was still dealing with the "physical and mental impact" of his long battle against the injury and would go away on holiday before deciding whether to stay involved in rugby.
The 31-year-old loose forward played 69 tests for South Africa and was one of the outstanding performers in the World Cup triumph in France.
He captained the Springboks in his last game for his country in 2010 against the Barbarians, but injured his Achilles early in 2011 and never fully recovered, missing out on a third World Cup appearance.
As well as the 2007 World Cup, he won the 2009 Tri-Nations with South Africa and a Currie Cup title in 2005 with his home province, Free State.