JAKE BOER, Gloucester's outstanding South African flanker, will leave the club at the end of the season after seven years at Kingsholm and a decade of service in the Guinness Premiership.
He will not take up the option of another one-year contract and instead return home to look after his growing business interests.
In a sparkling career that began with Leicester in 1997 and also included a crucial spell at London Irish, Boer has easily been one of the most influential players in Gloucester's recent history.
Boer made a name for himself as a flanker of renowned determination, whose sheer force of character enabled him to make 154 Premiership appearances - 121 for Gloucester. His effort was always stratospheric, his commitment total.
"Gloucester has been my home for the last seven years so the decision was very, very difficult," Boer told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "I have spent a third of my life doing this but I am happy with it.
"I am sure it will feel a bit strange in 10 or 12 weeks time when I move on but I am setting myself up for the next stage in my life. It has been an honour and a privilege to have played at such a great club and I would like to think that people will remember me as someone who was able to contribute in anyway to a great club.
"There were times when I thought I would be in England forever but now the time is right for me to go home. I was in discussions with Dean [Ryan, Gloucester's head coach] about another year but after this time my family has to come first and that is what I have done."
Boer led Gloucester to glory in the Powergen Cup in 2002/03 and also as top finishers in the Guinness Premiership when the Kingsholm club finished top of the pile by 15 points but lost the first ever play-off final to Wasps.
"One of my proudest moments was standing at Kingsholm spraying champagne with Chris Fortey after we finished top of the league," he said.
"I think what we achieved that season got lost in the play-offs - nobody said thank you or well done for what we had managed to do.
"But the whole experience has been fantastic - I have been involved in one of the best leagues in the world and play my part fully in that."
His club coach Ryan added: "Gloucester Rugby are going to miss a player of Jake's attitude and commitment, of that there can be no doubt.
"He has been a fantastic servant to Gloucester and we wish him and his family all the best for the future.
"There are not many individuals who have served with his distinction for a decade - it is a fantastic achievement and he has been a very special player for this club."
Boer will return to South Africa to run his travel and holiday accommodation business in Cape Town.
"It is another very exciting chapter in my life. We have some business options lined up that are really beginning to develop and that is something I want to achieve more in."
For more information on his business interests, contact www.bojavi.net
BOER will be holding a farewell dinner at The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 21st April 2007. A table of 10 will cost £700. This is a black tie event and includes a four-course dinner with wine, a full entertainment programme to include an auction and after dinner guest speakers. The evening is set to be a magnificent event with several of Jake's team mates and other high profile players in attendance.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).