“Ricky has been a great servant to the Springboks and to all the teams he has represented over a long and successful career,” said De Villiers. “He is a combative and fearless player and has been a part of some memorable Springbok performances. I wish him all the best for the new chapter in his playing career.”
Januarie has been released from his contract by DHL Western Province and will join French club Lyon in time for the start of the new European season.
“I’ve had a great run in South African rugby and have some fantastic memories but the time has come to move on,” said Januarie. “Lyon have offered me a new beginning and I want to concentrate all my efforts on helping them in their first season in the French Top 14.”
De Villiers said that he was comfortable to release Januarie as his inclusion in the preliminary Rugby World Cup squad was to offer experienced cover should other senior scrumhalves suffer injury.
“Ricky and I chatted and he knew where he stood in our Rugby World Cup plans,” said De Villiers. “He has reached the stage in his career where he wants to move on and there was no reason to stand in his way.
“He has produced some memorable moments over the years and his match-winning try against New Zealand in Dunedin will be remembered as long as the Springboks play.”
Januarie made the first of 47 Test caps under coach Jake White against Uruguay in East London in 2005 – his last was against New Zealand in Soweto last year. He collected winners’ medals at the World Under-21 championships in 2002 and Rugby World Cup in 2007 and was part of the Springbok squad that won the Castle Tri-Nations Series and the series against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.
He made his provincial debut for Boland in 2002 before moving to the MTN Golden Lions. He spent six years in Johannesburg before returning to the Western Cape in 2008 to join DHL Western Province. He recently made his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the DHL Stormers – and 93rd for all teams in the competition.
Province: Boland (2002), Lions (2003-2006), Western Province (from 2008)
Springbok number: 769
Test debut: 11 June 2005 vs Uruguay in East London, aged 23
Last test: 21 August 2010 vs New Zealand in Soweto, aged 28
Total tests: 47
Tour matches: 3
Total Springbok matches: 50
Win ratio: 34-13-0
Tours : Ireland & England, 2006; Ireland & Scotland, 2007; RWC in France, Wales & Scotland, 2007; Wales & England, 2007; British Isles, 2008 .
Honors : SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee, 2005; SuperSport Try of the Year, 2008 (vs New Zealand in Dunedin).