Springbok Sevens player Stephan Dippenaar has called an end to his playing career and will join a family farming business near Moorreesburg in the Western Cape.
The 29-year-old enjoyed a rewarding rugby career in both fifteens and sevens rugby which saw him earning gold medals in the domestic Currie Cup, Super Rugby and the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Dippenaar, who was schooled at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, represented South Africa at Under-19 level, played for the Junior Springboks at the 2008 Junior World Championship and tasted Currie Cup success with the Blue Bulls in 2009.
He also featured prominently in the Bulls team of 2010, when they won their third Super Rugby title.
Dippenaar joined the Springbok Sevens set-up in 2012, making his debut for the Blitzboks in Wellington, New Zealand in the 2012/13 season.
He was selected to play for the Springbok Sevens in 31 tournaments, played in 124 matches and scored 240 points (42 tries).
He last featured in both tournament wins in Sydney and Las Vegas during the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series, won by South Africa.
Injuries blighted most of his season, though, and the former midfielder has now decided to call it a day.
“I have decided to call it a day and start a new chapter in my career,” said Dippenaar.
“I recently got married to my dream woman, and we would like to start a family. I would also like to join my dad on the farm to learn from him for a couple of years and hopefully take over when he retires.
“The fact that we won the series was also a special way to end it, as I am ending my career on a high.”
Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. pic.twitter.com/w3Veu62e0A
Dippenaar thanked the various coaches, teammates and sponsors along the way that allowed him to play the game he loved and to express himself on the field.
“I lived my dream and I am thankful to all the coaches for giving me those opportunities,” said Dippenaar.
“To all the players and teammates who shared so many memories and experiences, thank you.
“I met some wonderful people, saw the world and to end it off with such a great group of guys and winning the series with the Blitzboks has been an amazing and humbling experience. To all of them, thank you, and remember to let your smile change the world.”
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell thanked Dippenaar for his contribution to the team. “I played with ‘Dippies’ and later coached him, and our relationship never changed because of that,” said Powell.
“He always was and remained a true team player who really worked hard and helped us establish the culture and brotherhood we are so proud of.
“His decision in 2012 to concentrate on sevens, despite good successes in 15s, also helped build the sevens brand.
“He will be missed, and I want to thank him for his contributions over many seasons and wish him well in the next chapter of his life.”