Former Northampton Saints hero Bruce Reihana has called time on his rugby career after failing to receive a contract offer from Bordeaux Begles.
The 38-year-old moved to Bordeaux from Northampton in 2011 but a serious knee injury sustained last October has kept him out of action.
And the French club have now decided against offering the Kiwi utility back a fresh deal, prompting him to retire.
Reihana established himself as a firm fans’ favourite after joining Saints from Waikato in 2002.
He made 218 appearances for Saints, scoring more than 1,000 points in the process and inspiring chants of ‘Bruce, Bruce, Bruce’ around Franklin’s Gardens.
But he will now call it a day, leaving son Evaan, who plays for Bordeaux’s youth team, to carry on the family name in the rugby-playing business.
Fans have been quick to pay tribute to Reihana, with many writing on social networking site Twitter to show their appreciation.
Some of the messages are shown below...
Aaron Underwood: “Childhood hero #brucebrucebruce”
James Watts: “Really good player and also a really nice bloke on the few short times I met him. Always had time for the fans.”
Ross Pell: “Would love to see the Reihana family back in Northampton with Bruce coaching at the gardens and his son signing for us!”
Ben Tully: “Get that man back to the Gardens!!”