Van Zyl to return to farming

Piet van Zyl has told Stade Français that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

It is the second time that the 29-year-old has hung up his boots to run his family’s farm in Vrede. Van Zyl temporarily retired in 2017, while he was still contracted to the Vodacom Bulls, before joining Premiership side London Irish in 2018.

Van Zyl, who has started 12 of 16 Top 14 matches this season, having arrived in Paris last year, said he felt an obligation to go back home.

‘It’s nothing against rugby,’ Van Zyl said. ‘I love the rugby here. I love the club and I really enjoyed the experience. It’s something that has come a long way with me.

‘I ended it with the Bulls about a year-and-a-half ago with the plan to come back to our family farm. The decision has been dragged out for a year-and-a-half. I am not going anywhere else. To be honest, it’s really sad, I really still want to play, but there comes a time for everything.

‘It’s a family decision, I really need to go back now.’

Heyneke Meyer’s side currently sit sixth on the Top 14 table and face a tough clash away against third-placed La Rochelle this weekend.

Photo: Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport