The Toyota Cheetah flanker, Gerhard Olivier has announced that he will retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.
Oliver sustained a neck injury during the Guinness PRO14 match against the Dragons in Wales earlier this year and he has been advised to retire from professional rugby on medical grounds.
“I injured my neck 15 minutes into the last game that we played in the PRO14. It was against the Dragons. I was tackled from behind and I was kind of pegged head first in the ground. I kept on playing, but the neck injury was way worse than what we expected.” Olivier said. “I expected to make a full recovery being back in training with the boys now. With a mindset where you think everything is fine, then it is not, is pretty devastating."
The 27-year-old made 53 appearances for the Toyota Cheetahs with his debut in a Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in 2015 as a replacement forward. He was part of the Shimla team who won the Varsity Cup in 2015 and proved himself worthy by coming through the ranks. Sadly, his career was plagued with a serious ankle injury which saw him missing out on quite a lot of rugby over a two-year period.
Olivier made a big impact and established himself as the first-choice flanker during the 2018/19 Pro14 season and he was among the leading defenders in the competition.
“I would say that the 2015 Varsity Cup was pretty special. Going unbeaten and smashing everyone was great. A lot of our friends came through that season, and in the same year we also all played in the Vodacom Cup, Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. So, it was a big year for us to break the mould and started playing good rugby. That was definitely the best year for me. Playing in Ireland in the first PRO14 games was also a highlight.
“Winning the Currie Cup in 2019 was great, I loved that. The first three games of the PRO14 was great when we smashed three teams that we’d never been able to beat before.”