The Newlands crowd and his teammates on Saturday gave Breyton Paulse a farewell that brought a tear to his eyes.
The Investec Stormers utility back played his last game for the Cape Super 12 franchise and was a star in the 25-20 win over the Cats. The nippy fullback came close to scoring at four occasions, but was cruelly denied – either by good scrambling tackling or in one instance by the touch judge.
“It would have been a bonus if I scored. I came close to scoring four or five times, but it wasn’t meant to be. It is sad to be leaving, but at the same time it was an awesome nine years that I’ve spent at Newlands,”said Paulse after the game.
“I wanted to leave on a high and I got a win in my last game, so I leave with good memories.”
The Springbok wing said to accept an offer to further his career in France, was a tough decision to come to. “It is a tough one. I sat down for a long time. I’ve been thinking about it since the beginning of the season, weighing up my options.
“I’ve been with Province for nine years now, its been long time. I’ve come to the stage where I needed a change in environment, something fresh that could be a new challenge for me.
“I don’t want to leave when people start booing you, I wanted to leave on a high and I think that is what I am doing.”
The Springboks said he feels he has two more years left in the tank and he wants to spend those two years in France. “The way I feel now, I feel like I’ve been around for ages!” he said with a broad grin. “I don’t want to leave when I cannot get up in the morning.”
After the final whistle, Paulse led his teammates around the stadium and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He returned the compliment by doing one of his trademark flick-flaks.
“It brought a tear to my eye,” the likeable fellow said. “It is just amazing to think that from now on I won’t be part of it anymore, so it was pretty emotional. Hopefully I will be back here for the Boks, but once again I have happy memories to take with me.
“It is going to be weird thinking about the future now. I don’t want to look ahead too far now, but it is going to be strange because I have been part and parcel of this union now for nine years. It’s been a long time and the players and management are part of my family.”
Captain De Wet Barry said the “victory lap” in honour of his long-time teammate came about spontaneously.
“It just came to us and we thought it would be a good gesture that Breytie should run in front and say thank you to the crowd. I think the crowd showed their appreciation for his excellent play over the years.”