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Francois Louw

Lock Francois Louw, one of world rugby’s premier back-row players. Learn about his life and career with Rugby365, your resident rugby gurus.

Francois Louw Biography

Francois Louw was born on 15 June 1985 in Cape Town as the grandson of Jan Pickard, who represented WP and the Springboks in the 1950s. He grew up with a passion for the game. And never missed a match at Newlands . Like most schoolboys in the region, he was desperate to realise his dream of wearing the blue and white hoops.

But Francois Louw did not represent WP at Craven Week, though. He attended Bishops College and the University of Stellenbosch. It was only in his second year as a university student that he was selected to play for the WP U21 team, signing his first pro contract with WP at the age of 21.

He went on to represent the Stormers in Super Rugby having made his debut during the 2008 season. He was part of the Stormers team that lost the 2010 Super 14 final to the Bulls, the same year he made his Springbok debut against Wales and made the move to Bath Rugby.

His debut match was special in that he scored a try underneath the Jan Pickard Stand at Newlands.

Francois Louw had become a mainstay in the South African side, becoming the first choice open-side flank under the reign of Heyneke Meyer. He had the second most turnovers won at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with 13. 

His ability to steal the ball at the ruck and to form a vital link between the forwards and backline saw him become one of the most respected forwards in world rugby.

He was recalled into the Springboks squad ahead of the 2018 Rugby Championship having missed the Tests against England.

In March 2019, Francois Louw signed a new deal Bath Rugby having arrived in the West Country at the start of the 2011/12 season, making 130 appearances.

Louw was named in South Africa's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and helped the team win the tournament, defeating England in the final. He featured prominently in the Springboks' successful Bomb Squad that received high praise for their impact from the bench in the latter stages of the game.

Francois Louw made a telling impact during the World Cup winning a crucial penalty in the semi-final against Wales shortly after replacing Siya Kolisi. He will also be remembered for his heroic feats in that clash in the final. With time running out and the Boks pinned back in their own half, he attacked the breakdown to win a momentum-changing penalty for his team.

From there, the Boks exited their half and then won another penalty at the ensuing lineout. Handre Pollard slotted the goal that sent South Africa into the final.

He announced his retirement at the age of 35 soon after the tournament having made 134 starts in 140 appearances for Bath, following nine seasons at the club.

With 76 international caps for South Africa under his belt, Francois Louw  enjoyed an illustrious career spanning over a decade.

Francois Louw has qualified as a financial adviser. The former Springbok flank intends to use his new skills and his experience as a professional sportsman to help young athletes.