'This was not how I wanted things to end'
REACTION: The Stormers, players and coaches alike, had big plans for a glorious farewell to Newlands.
This year is their last at the famous stadium, before the franchise – and its parent body the Western Province Rugby Football Union – pack up and move across to the purpose-build Cape Town Stadium in Greenpoint.
From the outset coach John Dobson and captain Siyamthanda Kolisi explained that they want to make it a special year to say farewell to the grand old dame.
There is uncertainty – because of the COVID-19-enforced lockdown – if they will get to play at Newlands ever again.
As it is, it appears there will be no rugby in South Africa before October.
One player who has certainly played his last game at Newlands is Springbok utility back Dillyn Leyds.
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Leyds, capped 10 times for his country, took to social media to express his disappointment not having a final chance to play for the Stormers before he leaves for France.
Stormers coach John Dobson revealed this week that the 27-year-old had played his final match for the franchise before a move to La Rochelle in the Top 14.
“This was definitely not how I wanted things to end and right now I would give anything for just one more 80 with the boys, but nevertheless my time has come to say goodbye,” Leyds said in a post on his Instagram account.
The South African also thanked his teammates, the management and the fans for his seven years with the Stormers and Western Province, describing it as “an absolute dream come true”.
He accompanied the message with photos of his career in Cape Town.
After making his debut for Western Province in 2013, Leyds enjoyed a brief stint in Australia with Super Rugby’s Western Force in 2014, before returning to South Africa and making his first appearance for the Stormers a year later.
The 27-year-old made his Test debut against France at Loftus Versfeld in June 2017 and played the last of his 10 Tests against Argentina, also in Pretoria, in August last year.
View this post on Instagram
This was definitely not how I wanted things to end and right now I would give anything for just one more 80 with the boys but nevertheless my time has come to say goodbye, a really tough goodbye to the @dhlstormers and @dhlwp family. The last 7 years has all been an absolute dream come true for me. I got to do what I love and enjoy in one of the best cities in the world and at one of rugby’s most iconic venues week in and week out. To the fans, thanks so much for your support, it’s very much appreciated. You guys have really made Newlands that much more special and I think I speak for us all as players when i say we’re sad to see it go. Whether it’s a “boo” from the grand stand or “gaan sny jou hare” from the railway stand😂I know I will miss it all dearly. I want to say thank you to the management and coaching staff who’ve helped and guided me during my time over here. To my team mates, words won’t do it any justice as to how much I have enjoyed my time on and off the field with you guys. I’ll leave here with so many great memories and valuable friendships that were built during this time and to me that’s ultimately the biggest W. I really hope there’ll be time for one more team social just to end it off in style. Thank you Cape Town. It was lekke, nca ,and so vibey. Hopefully I’ve also left you guys with some good memories and not just one lucky pass🤟🏽♥️