WP Nel announces retirement from rugby

WP Nel announces retirement from rugby

Tighthead prop WP Nel is to call time on a stellar career that saw him represent Scotland on 61 occasions since a 2015 debut.

A 2012 signing for Edinburgh Rugby, for whom he recently made his 200th appearance in the URC game against Stormers in Cape Town, the 37-year-old Nel earned a first taste of international rugby three years later, against Italy in Turin, having qualified to play for Scotland on residency grounds.

Nel and his family at the 2023 Rugby World Cup squad announcement.

He went on to feature at the Rugby World Cup later that year and in the next two iterations, in Japan (2019) and last year, in France, playing in each of Scotland’s 13 tournament matches across that period.

Two of Nel’s international tries came during Rugby World Cup action, against USA in 2015 and the hosts four years later, his other counter also against Japan in a 2016 Test win in Aichi.

He won a 50th cap in the home Test against New Zealand in 2022, with a 61st and final outing for Scotland coming in last year’s Rugby World Cup meeting with Ireland.

WP leading Scotland into the changing rooms on the day of his 50th cap.

On his time with the national team, Nel said: “To have the opportunity to play for Scotland is something I’m incredibly proud of. The memories in the jersey are unbelievable.

“When you stand there, singing the anthem, it’s a moment to be proud of, to be part of a team that will represent Scotland.”

“My family was the forefront of everything. To have them in the stands, it makes you stronger, it lifts you, you want to perform for them, so it’s always been brilliant to have them there.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend paid tribute to the prop forward, adding: “WP has given a huge amount to Scottish rugby over a number of years.

“He was a joy to coach as every time he took to the training pitch he gave it his all, no matter how much his body was giving him issues. WP will rank amongst the best props to play for Scotland, highly respected from coaches and players alike – and he also had a brilliant sense of humour.

“I know how much playing for Scotland has meant to him and his family, and we are so grateful for everything he has done in the shirt.”

“We’ll miss his smile, his love of the scrum and some very skilful moments that often lit up our training sessions. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season and in his retirement.”

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