DHL Stormers legend: Breyton Paulse

PUBLISHED: February 21, 2024

Breyton Paulse played with pace, flair and plenty of passion every time he pulled on a DHL Stormers jersey.

The original DHL Stormers pocket rocket with a flick-flack touchdown celebration, Breyton Paulse was a true Newlands hero who stood out as a try-scoring machine in a professional game dominated by big men.

Blessed with electric pace, a poacher’s eye for a loose ball and a tireless work ethic across the field, he first garnered attention with a hat-trick of tries in a Currie Cup match in 1996 for DHL Western Province – for whom he averaged nearly a try a match in 75 appearances – before he announced himself for the Springboks with a hat-trick against Italy in Port Elizabeth on debut.

The diminutive wing scored 26 tries in 64 Tests for the Boks from 1999 to 2007 that included selection for the 1999 and 2003 World Cups.

At the end of the 2000 domestic season, Paulse became the first player of colour to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year, capping a season in which he scored two tries in DHL WP’s Currie Cup final win over Natal.

Paulse, who made his DHL Stormers debut in 1998 against the Hurricanes, was also an integral member of the ‘Men in Black’ era before he moved to France and played for Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 before returning to Cape Town to finish his career where it all started in 2007.

The man from the Koue Bokkeveld played 81 games for his beloved DHL Stormers, scoring 38 tries, and was immensely popular with The Faithful, with a cacophony of cries heard from the Newlands stands for the ball to be swung to ‘Breytie’.

Paulse thrived under the spotlight, paving the way for future backline dynamos and fellow Cape darlings like Gio Aplon and Cheslin Kolbe.

‘I kind of felt that pressure, and it is how I dealt with that pressure. It’s almost like I had to keep that emotion in, but not let that emotion carry me away,’ said Paulse.

‘I wanted to perform at the highest level every week, and people always wanted me to score, and sometimes it wasn’t always possible. But I could always help in other ways, like with an assist or going to get the ball and help try and put my mates away.’

Former DHL Stormers boss Gert Smal, who was in the coaches’ box at Paulse’s final match for the Capetonians in 2007, added: ‘Breyton has been a top professional in everything he has done. Nothing was too big or too much for him.

‘He was always friendly and always had his feet on the ground. I can’t say enough of Breytie.’

Paulse’s DHL Stormers numbers:

81 – The number of matches he played for the DHL Stormers from 1998 to 2007

38 – The number of tries he scored for the DHL Stormers