12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old flanker cited personal reasons for his unexpected exit. His resignation follows that of coach Rudolf Straeuli and two top rugby administrators, who all stepped down after South Africa's poor showing at the World Cup and disquiet at a controversial boot camp training regime.
Krige announcing his retirement said in a statement: "I have made the decision to retire from international rugby. I have given this a lot of thought and have discussed things through with my wife and family and believe this is the right decision for me."
Krige, who played 39 tests for South Africa, added: "I just feel that I am at a stage in my life where I would like to concentrate on the Stormers and Western Province (provincial teams) and would like to spend more time at home with my family."
He debuted simultaneously as captain and player for the Springboks in June 1999 against Italy and led the team to a record 101-0 victory, but only took over as regular skipper in 2002.
For the past two years, South African rugby has endured a hard time, suffering under record losses and internal squabbles before and after the World Cup in Australia.
The preparation to the World Cup was marred by a racism incident when a white player refused to share a room with his coloured (mixed race) teammate, throwing the team into disrepute.
Krige emerged from the saga with his reputation intact, having tried to restore harmony while making it clear he would not tolerate racism.
The team then suffered humiliating losses during the tournament and failed to beat any top rugby nations. The Springboks were ousted in the quarter-finals against New Zealand after losing 29-9. To make matters worse, upon their return from the World Cup, bizarre footage of a military-style training "bootcamp" was leaked to the media and broadcast worldwide.
It showed players forced naked into a freezing lake to pump up rugby balls, causing a public outcry for a clear out of top officials. As a result, the heads of top officials rolled -- including those of coach Straeuli, SA Rugby managing director Rian Oberholzer and South African Rugby Football Union president Silas Nkanunu.
Krige never openly criticised rugby management following the bootcamp scandal, but did say that in retrospect he would have done a few things differently.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed playing for the Springboks and it has been a dream come true to play in the green and gold and to have captained the team was an incredible experience," Krige said. "I appeal to all involved at SA Rugby to realise the potential and value of the players we have in this country. I truly believe we have a squad that can be world-beaters if utilised correctly."