Saints flanker Heinrich Brüssow has today announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.
The 33-year-old has suffered a string of injury problems since switching to Saints from Japanese Top League side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in January 2018.
It has meant he has only been able to make 21 appearances for the black, green and gold, the last of which came in the Premiership Rugby Cup win at Leicester Tigers less than two weeks ago.
Brüssow missed the Gallagher Premiership opener at Saracens last weekend due to a hamstring issue.
And with the injuries having mounted up, he has decided the time is right to call time on his illustrious career.
“I feel very proud to have represented a club like Saints which has such a rich history and the passionate support of Northampton behind them,” said Brüssow, who won 23 caps for South Africa.
“I came to Northampton after spending a long time in Japan, looking for a new challenge and to push myself here in England.
"But I have been battling injuries for some time now and I have made the very difficult decision to call time on my career.
“I want to say thank you to all of Saints’ loyal supporters who have done nothing but offer encouragement during my time here.
"I wish I could have pulled on this famous jersey more often for them, but unfortunately injuries have prevented me from doing that.
“I also have to thank my team-mates and all the medical staff at the club for everything they have done for me, as well as my wife, my family and friends who have been by my side throughout my career. I am truly grateful.”
Brüssow initially put pen to paper on a deal to bring him to Saints in January 2018 as he was drafted in as a replacement for then players' and supporters' player of the year Louis Picamoles, who moved to Montpellier during the previous summer.
Brüssow had spent five years in Japan with the Osaka-based NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, after eight seasons playing Super Rugby in Bloemfontein with the Cheetahs.
In total, Brüssow racked up more than 200 appearances in 11 years across the Currie Cup, Super Rugby and Top League competitions, scoring 39 tries.
His efforts with the Cheetahs saw him rewarded with his first international call-up in 2008 as he was picked by South Africa to play England at Twickenham, before playing in all three Tests against the British & Irish Lions the following year.
Brüssow also played every match for the Springboks at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and was selected for the Barbarians in 2014, before pulling on a South Africa jersey for the final time in 2015.