Bath duo GJ van Velze and Chris Cloete to retire at end of season

The Recreation Ground
The Recreation Ground
©Steve Haag

Bath Rugby have announced that forwards GJ van Velze and Chris Cloete will be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the ongoing season.

Born in Pretoria, van Velze made his professional rugby debut with Blue Bulls in 2008 and went on to represent Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors. He also had a brief stint with Tel Aviv before joining Bath in 2022.

He has made more than 150 Premiership appearances across the three clubs.

Meanwhile, Cloete joined Bath in 2022 and has played 26 times for the club. He also had represented Sharks, Western Province, Kandy, Southern Kings, Pumas and Munster before joining Bath.

“I am very proud to have been part of Chris and Gerrit-Jan’s rugby journeys across the rugby world," Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan said.

"I will remember him as one of the best leaders that I have coached and as a player who had a deep understanding of the game of rugby. I wish GJ and his family the very best for the next step in their journey. GJ is one of the very best men that I had the privilege of coaching.

“Chris had an amazing rugby journey that took him all over the world. I am grateful to have spent many years coaching Chris at Munster and Bath.

"I will remember Chris as one of the toughest and fiercest competitors that I have come across, whether it be on the training field or in the game.

"He was one of those players that everyone enjoyed having around, his laugh is infectious."