Stormers lock calls it quits

Stormers and Western Province veteran lock Chris van Zyl has officially announced his retirement from rugby in an emotional statement.

The 34-year-old, who began his professional career with the Lions in 2013, returned to the Western Cape in 2015 with Province.

Van Zyl would make over 50 appearances in the blue-and-white hoops, first captaining Province in 2016 and leading the team to the title a year later in 2017.

He also made 34 Super Rugby appearances for the Stormers.

‘At the end of 2014, I left Johannesburg with a broken heart, my then short-lived professional rugby career had seemingly come to an abrupt end,’ Van Zyl said in a statement on social media.

‘Little did I know that this was not the end, only the beginning …

‘Upon returning to Cape Town, my eyes were opened to what I never believed possible: a high-performance environment that supported a united brotherhood, an understanding of community, inspired by our roots and driven to write our own story.

‘Through liquidation, “unwanted-player” lists and stadium changes, our love for the Blue and White hoops never ended. My dream had always been to represent the Stormers and Western Province. I am honoured to have been afforded this opportunity and have had the opportunity to lead the team. My overriding emotion is one of endless gratitude.

‘The time has come for me to exit the game that I love on my terms and to enter the next chapter of my life. Once again, it’s not the end, but only the beginning.’

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images