One last hurrah for Os

Veteran Springbok prop Os du Randt has made it clear that he WILL retire after the World Cup in France, which means his last appearance in a rugby match of any description on South African soil will be when South Africa face Namibia at Newlands on Wednesday.

It stands to reason that the front row forward will want to make his last appearance at home a “memorable” one.

“This is my last season and I want to go out on a high,” the 72-Test veteran said.

“It will be an emotional occasion and I want it to be a memorable one,” Du Randt said of the Newlands Test.

He dismissed any suggestion that he would follow several of his teammates in the Great Trek north and play abroad after the World Cup.

“My pension is on the farm,” he said of his Free State farm, where he will return to after returning from France.

“I might do some coaching, help out with scrums … something like that. But after France I won’t play any rugby again.”

Du Randt is indeed a breed apart. Os (Ox for those not familiar with Afrikaans) has been a beast of the front row world since he made his debut against Argentina in 1994. He now has a World Cup winners medal (1995), a Tri-Nations title (2004) and a Currie Cup triumph under his belt – a truly unique achievement.

He will become the first-ever South African player to take part in three World Cup tournaments when the global showpiece kicks off in just under a months time.

Du Randt described it as one of his personal goals.

“This was always one of my dreams,” he said.

“I was fortunate to play in 1995 and 1999 and then missed out on the 2003 tournament. At the moment I am as fit as I have been at any time in my career and I am looking forward to France. I don’t want to disappoint myself or the team.”

Du Randt has a gap in his Test career – from November 1999 to June 2004 – when a serious knee injury almost brought a premature end to his career.

Speaking of his dramatic recall, by Jake White, he admitted it had been a rocky road.

“It is always harder, especially for a bigger and older guy, to come back. However, this is the first time I haven’t read in the papers that I’m unfit. Hopefully I won’t disappoint myself.”

Despite the long lay-off he could still achieve another very unique milestone.

At age 34, he will turn 35 at the World Cup next month, Du Randt has 72 Test caps to his credit – placing him fourth on the South African all-time list behind Joost van der Westhuizen (89), Percy Montgomery (85 – who will become the most capped Bok at the World Cup) and lock Mark Andrews (77).

Du Randt could become South Africa’s most-capped forward. He is already his country’s most-capped prop.

The Bok veteran will be able to call on all that experience, including the insight as to how South African won the World Cup in 1995, when he heads to France.

Du Randt said the key to the Bok success in ’95 was the hard work that was done in the build up to the tournament as well as the way in which the team had bonded as a unit.

“Developing a brotherhood becomes important when you reach the knockout stages because that is where the guys have to be tight as a team. The guys must play for one another.”

Du Randt added the highlight for him in 1995 was the opening match against Australia.

“I was a youngster and I was determined to do my best. I remember Kitch telling us if we won against Australia, it would put us on the high road but if we lost we would be on the low road. After we beat Australia the team believed they had a realistic chance to win the tournament,” he said.

The Springbok stalwart, who was and still is reluctant to travel abroad for lengthy periods, said the presence of his family at the World Cup would be a great boost.

The players’ families will spend two weeks overseas with the team, after arriving for the England pool match on S

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