Pieter Dixon will not be part of the action when the Investec Stormers tackle the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday in their last Super 12 fixture of 2005, but he is also bidding farewell as a Stormer.
The hooker did not make the 22-man squad for the Loftus clash, but earlier this week the Stormers bade farewell to one of the characters of the team. Dixon soon departs to further his career in England, where he will be joining former teammate Robbie Fleck at Bath.
Dixon was not a member of the team for the past two games, but he will be in the pavilion at Loftus on Saturday to spur his teammates on.
“I would have loved to finish on a high here at Newlands, but I reckon life doesn’t work exactly like you want it to work,” said the friendly hooker.
“Gert told me beforehand he would select Lukas (van Biljon) ahead of me in the 22-man squad. I am not bitter about it, because I did not have the best of seasons behind me.
“However, if I have to be honest, I have to say it is a bit disappointing to be left out for a player who would probably get only a few minutes of game time.”
Stormers CEO and coach Gert Smal lauded Dixon for his contribution to the Stormers and Investec Western Province cause. Dixon joined WP from Natal in 1999.
“Pieter came here in 1999 and has 81 WP caps to his name, so it is a pity he didn’t stay on tot make it 100. He is a prolific try-scorer with 7 tries behind his name,” joked Wagner in paying tribute.
“He made his Super 12 debut in 2001 and here he was an even more prolific scorer with one try in 34 caps.”
Wagner said Dixon came from outside the borders of WP, but contributed tremendously. “He is a true professional. Pieter has a wonderful sense of humour and always saw the bright side. He was part of successful teams and always had a positive influence.
“The maturity and integrity he has shown during his time here will always be remembered. People will say why you let players go, but this is not a case of letting a player go, this is a case of saying thanks for all that you meant and that our door will always be open,” concluded Wagner.
Smal praised Dixon as a great individual. “He has been a great servant and brought a lot to the team in terms of his humour. Sometimes it takes a combination of people to make up a team. It has been well documented what I think of his abilitites.”
So for now it is bye bye Dixie. Go make your mark in England.