Ex-South African under-20s international Paul Jordaan is finished with professional rugby at just the age of 28. It was last May, just two months after agreeing on a contract extension through to 2021, that La Rochelle announced that the Junior World Cup-winning centre was leaving. Now, eleven months later he has confirmed he is finished with the sport for a life on the farm.
Jordaan arrived in Europe in 2016 following five Super Rugby seasons with the Sharks and his initial two years at La Rochelle were highly productive. Injuries became an issue in his third year, yet the club still offered him an agreement that somehow wound up getting torn up within a matter of weeks.
At the time of his sudden departure, Jordaan remained mysterious about the reasons for his choice. “What an adventure,” he posted at the time. “A place that has helped me grow not only as a player but also as a person.
“I have had immense disappointments and joys over the past three years, both on the field and outside. I made incredible friends who are now my family. Each of you has had an impact on my life in one way or another, I am very grateful to you.”
Eleven months on, he has finally lifted the lid on his surprise exit, telling sarugbymag.co.za that he has no regrets about quitting. “I feel like I left rugby on my own terms, on my own decision. I’m now doing something I really like, so it was not that difficult,” he said, explaining why he decided to settle on the family farm near Durban.
“We raise sheep and goats. We have a few Kalahari red goats and we also have a hunting trip business with American customers, but the past few years have been difficult for the company. We are emerging from a period of five years of drought. For a long time now, I wanted to come back and help.
“I’m done (with rugby). I decided it was time to hang up my boots and start my life after rugby. When you are a player, you live in a bubble and many boys leave it too late. I don’t want to make this mistake. I feel like it was the right time for me to leave the rugby scene and start my next life.”
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