Grippaux centre Wayne Stevens has decided to retire from the professional rugby and start his new life as a financial advisor in Polokwane.
Stevens has enjoyed a professional rugby career that stretches back to 2007.
Having attended Grey College and represented Free State at schoolboy level, he signed for the Bloemfontein-based union, where he played U19, U21 and Vodacom Cup rugby between 2007 and 2010. During this time, he also played for Shimlas in the Varsity Cup and featured for the SA Students in 2008.
Stevens then joined the EP Kings in 2010, where he made his Currie Cup First Division debut. He also featured in the IRB Nations Cup in 2011 and captained the SA Barbarians South team that faced England in midweek matches in 2012.
In 2014, Stevens moved to Kimberley to join Griquas. After their Vodacom Cup elimination in the quarter-finals this season, the 27-year-old has called it a day.
He is currently preparing for a move to Polokwane, where he will continue life as a financial advisor, having studied a Bcom Financial Management degree at Free State University.
Stevens said he was happy to enjoy his time as a professional rugby player.
“I can look back to many happy memories on and off the field,” Stevens told MyPlayers.co.za. “I won the U21 provincial title at Free State, I won two Currie Cup First Division titles at the EP Kings and I captained Griquas to the Vodacom Cup title last year. So everywhere I played, I managed to enjoy success on the field. I’ve also made many good friendships during my journey.
“But at this stage of my life, I’ve decided to start a new career. It wasn’t an easy decision, but a very good opportunity came my way, and I couldn’t overlook it.
“A professional sports career is never going to last forever, and as you get older, you realise that you need to prepare for the rest of your life. At times, there are things in life more important than rugby, and I’m very excited to start this new exciting chapter.”
Stevens has prior experience time in the financial field, having consulted as an advisor on a part-time basis in Port Elizabeth.
“At the Kings, I had the opportunity to spend some time in the corporate field as I advised a few guys as a consultant. This was a great experience as it showed me what I could expect in the working world and how things worked in the financial field,” said Stevens. “I’m looking forward to doing this on a full-time basis at my new job.”
Stevens also stressed that all players take the time to obtain academic qualifications and work experience, which will boost the chance of finding an alternative career after rugby.
“The belief that you can’t play professional career and study at the same time isn’t true. All you need to do is find the necessary balance, and this is something that all players need to take very seriously, especially at a young age,” said Stevens.
“Think about it… for the eight to ten years you focus your life on rugby… you could achieve two degrees during that time. It is worth the effort and sacrifice.
“Having a qualification behind your name, and getting part-time work experience in your field will go along way in making the transition from a professional rugby player to a corporate player much easier. It will help you make an immediate career switch, which I have now experienced.”