Breyton Paulse had one of the most decorated careers in South African rugby history. When he hung up his boots after the 33-6 loss to the All Blacks in Christchurch on July 14, 2007, he had won 64 Test caps – ninth on the all-time Springbok list – and scored 26 tries – fourth on the all-time Springbok list.
Paulse’s phenomenal try-scoring ability was immediately evident when he accomplished the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick on international debut against Italy in Port Elizabeth on June 12, 1999. It proved to be a feat he would never repeat on Test level although he scored braces against Australia (twice), Argentina, Canada, Italy and the Pacific Islands respectively.
He was a member of the 1999 World Cup squad and received the honour of being named the SA Player of the Year in 2000. He played in his second World Cup in 2003 and helped the Springboks win their second Tri-Nations title in 2004.
The following year, he moved to France where he took up a contract with Clermont but continued to play for the Boks as South Africa had abandoned their policy of excluded overseas-based players from national selection at the time.
The small, electrifying winger scored a hat-trick on his senior debut for Western Province in 1996 where he played the majority of his provincial career bar the one-year stint at Clermont. His elusive running and trademark flip after crossing the whitewash made him a huge crowd favourite. He remains one of Newlands most beloved sons.
Records/Honours:SA Young Player of the Year nominee, 1997SA Player of the Year nominee, 1999SA Player of the Year, 2000Member of the Springbok Tri-Nations winning squad, 2004