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Hard man Mulder retires from rugby

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Speaking to Afrikaans daily, Beeld, Mulder explained that although he would still love to continue playing rugby, he has had to accept that his body has possibly taken a few too many knocks and that it would be unwise to continue.

"I still desperately wanted to play this season but in the end decided to rather stop now. From now on I'll just sit and watch," the 33-year-old said on Tuesday.

"It would have taken me between eight months and two years to recover. Another option would have been an operation but they are not always successful."

Mulder decided to pursue a career with the English club Leeds last year and that's where his troubles began. "There we wrestled every day as part of our pre-season training. One day I fell badly and I have struggled with the neck ever since," he told Beeld.

Despite no longer being on the field, Mulder admitted wanting to give something back to the game and did express an interest in getting involved in coaching.

Mulder burst onto the South African rugby scene as part of the all-conquering Transvaal team of 1993 that won the inaugural Super 10 as well as the Bankfin Currie Cup.

Under the captaincy of Francois Pienaar, Mulder quickly built a reputation as one of the most feared defenders in the game, something that still applies today. He is probably most famous for "that tackle" on Jonah Lomu in the World Cup Final of 1995 when he sent the giant wing sprawling over the touchline with the tryline beckoning

He made his Test debut came against the All Blacks in 1994 and he went on to secure 34 Test caps, scoring six tries for his country.

However, a number of successive injuries saw him lose his place. Shoulder, hamstring and groin injuries over the past four seasons limited Mulder, a key man for the Cats at Super 12 level, to only a handful of games, his last Tests coming against France and Italy under Harry Viljoen in 2001.

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