South Africa flanker AJ Venter has announced his retirement from international rugby, citing personal and business commitments.
The 33-year-old's decision means he will not travel overseas for the Tri-Nations tour despite being selected in the Springbok squad to play Australia and New Zealand in the away legs of the tournament, and comes less than three months before the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
He will, however, remain with the Sharks for the remainder of his one-year contract which ends after the 2008 Vodacom Super 14, and will play in the ABSA Currie Cup this season.
"My current contract with the Sharks will continue unchanged as they have been loyal to me and have given me their constant support throughout the last seven years, and I would like to use the next year to leave something behind," he explained.
"I did not want to retire outright without giving something back to the Sharks and the loyal Sharks fans who have supported me throughout my stint here in Durban.
"I would like to leave here with the satisfaction of having contributed by imparting something onto the younger Sharks players."
Venter went on to express his thanks to SA Rugby and the Springboks for the years he has enjoyed with them, including a Tri-Nations winner's medal in 2004.
"Having represented the Springboks has obviously been the highlight of my playing career and I have some very special memories over the years," he said.