South Africa Rugby World Cup winner JP Pietersen announced his retirement on Friday at the age of 34.
Pietersen, who played mostly as a winger, made 70 Springbok appearances scoring 24 tries. He appeared in three World Cups, collecting a winner's medal at the first, in 2007.
He started and ended his career with the Durban-based Sharks and had stints in Japan and with Leicester Tigers and Toulon in Europe.
Pietersen stated on social media that he was grateful for "such a long career that has unfolded beyond my wildest dreams."
"Rugby has changed my life for the better and I will be forever grateful for what this game has done for me."
"It will take a while for all of this to sink in, but I'm so fortunate to have been able to represent my country."
Former team-mates and opponents quickly responded on Twitter and Instagram.
"Legend," posted Springboks Jesse Kriel and Jean-Luc du Preez and former Toulon team-mate and France captain Mathieu Bastareaud.
"World class," wrote another Springbok, Warrick Gelant.
"Honoured to have played alongside you," posted ex-France centre Maxime Mermoz, who overlapped with Pietersen at Toulon. "Your happiness is contagious!"
"Congrats on an epic career," wrote England international Freddie Burns, a team-mate at the Tigers.
"Well done on a great haul," said South African born les Bleus scrumhalf Rory Kockott, a former Sharks team-mate.
Farewell ?? ?? pic.twitter.com/lVSl9Rt4Jr— JP Pietersen (@jppietersen14) February 5, 2021
honored to have played alongside to you. champion!!! your happiness is contagious!! keep smiling and enjoy your beautiful family ??— Maxime Mermoz (@MaximeMermoz1) February 5, 2021