Dobson hails retiring Stormers lock

Stormers head coach John Dobson says Chris van Zyl ’embodies what it means to be a true Province man’ after the lock announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Van Zyl made the announcement on social media, paying tribute to all those involved in his career.

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The experienced lock finishes with 72 caps for Western Province and 42 caps for the Stormers, having contributed immensely on and off the field over the past six years.

Van Zyl’s connection with Western Province Rugby runs deep, with his grandfather Boon Wallace, father Mike and brother Anton all having worn the blue-and-white hoops of Western Province before him.

His path to professional rugby was unconventional in the modern era.

He attained an accounting degree at the University of Stellenbosch and represented Maties, before going to Johannesburg to do his articles and qualify as a CA.

Van Zyl then returned to Cape Town in 2015 and got his first opportunity to represent Western Province in 2016, leading the team to 13 wins from 14 games in the Currie Cup-qualifying campaign under Dobson.

The following year Van Zyl lifted the Currie Cup in Durban as Western Province claimed a record 34th title.

Dobson said that working with Van Zyl has been one of the highlights of his coaching career so far.

‘Chris embodies what it means to be a true “Province man”. He always put the needs of the team above his own and had a positive influence on everyone he worked with here.

‘His family can be proud of the way he represented them and there are many players who can learn from his example, both in terms of his passion and values and in the way he has set himself up for life after rugby. We can only wish him all the best and thank him for his countless contributions.’

Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images