DTH van der Merwe Retires From Canadian Rugby

By Ben Hamill - October 21 2019

It all started exactly one day after having relocated as a 17-year-old youngster with his family from South Africa to Canada in 2003. And now, looking back on a career playing international rugby for the Canadian team for the biggest part of his adult life; a career that started out with two games played for local club Regina Rogues; DTH van der Merwe is ready to retire content in the knowledge that at 38 tries scored, he remains the country’s all-time leading try-scorer.

The 33-year-old officially announced his retirement from professional rugby a little over a week ago, saying that he believed that the time had arrived to allow someone else the unique opportunity of filling his jersey and living the ultimate Canadian dream.

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Every Day Was His Favourite

Despite his fondly looking back on his favourite try; a spectacular piece of pure rugby magic leading to a 2015 World Cup victory over Italy; he considers the entire experience of being part of the Canadian team as having been the ultimate highlight of his career. To DTH van der Merwe, every day spent with his teammates was a career highlight; a group of guys he says he would gladly do just about anything for.

Another victory remembered as an experience “so so special” to van der Merwe is the time Canada beat Tonga 25-20 during the 2011 World Cup. No surprises there in terms of this being an extra special experience as it turned out to be his only win in all of four trips to the WC tournament.

This Isn’t The End Of The Road

When asked about how Canada’s recent disappointing World Cup performance affected his decision to retire; especially since the team never even got to play its last game of the tournament against Namibia due to Typhoon Hagibis; the South African-born player admits that it did “briefly” prompt a re-evaluation of the decision.

Even though retiring at this stage of his career would effectively mean ending it all off on a particularly low note, van der Merwe said that he had eventually come to the conclusion that not all endings could be fairy-tale endings and that perhaps his story wasn’t supposed to have a “highlight” ending.

As far as career club rugby goes, van der Merwe will see the remainder of his contract through with Glasgow Warriors. He hopes to be in a position to continue playing rugby at club level once the 1-year remaining contract term has expired.

Here’s to many more years of top-quality tries for man described by Canada coach Kingsley Jones as “a top-class player, a top-class finisher”.

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