Ex-Springbok halfback Piet van Zyl has announced he will quit rugby at the end of the season to return to his family farm in South Africa.
The 29-year-old Stade Francais halfback moved to Paris last year after spells with the Cheetahs, Bulls and London Irish, and played for South Africa three times between 2013-16, making his test debut against Scotland in Nelspruit before going on to play against Samoa and Wales.
Van Zyl said his call to move away from rugby was a family-orientated decision that had been discussed for a year-and-a-half.
“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.”
Van Zyl has been a vital member of Stade Francais this season, starting 12 of their 16 matches in the Top 14.
Currently lying sixth in the competition, the Parisian club will have to rely on the services of halfbacks Arthur Coville and Clement Daguin following van Zyl’s departure.
Stade Francais will continue their bid for a Top 14 play-offs berth when they face La Rochelle at Stade Marcel-Deflandre this weekend.
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