This weekend we say goodbye to longstanding member of the Wasps squad, Mark Van Gisbergen, who is moving on at the end of the season and will be playing in his last home game for the club.
Known to "Giz" to everyone at the club, the New Zealand native remains one of the most popular players to have worn the black and gold shirt and he has played a major role in the club’s success on both the domestic and European stages in seasons past.
Giz joined Wasps from Waikato in 2002/03 and after two standout seasons; he qualified for England in September 2005 and was immediately selected for Andy Robinson's squad for the Autumn International Series.
Having scored tries in both the 2004 Heineken Cup and 2005 Premiership finals, against Toulouse and Leicester, and having won every possible major trophy with Wasps, his career at the club has been dotted with both major team and personal highlights.
This year once again he has been a fundamental part of the squad, making regular appearances at full-back and providing great knowledge and advice for the younger generation of players who have begun to break into the first team.
As he prepares to move on from Wasps, he reflected on his hugely successful period at the club.
“There have been a lot of highlights so it is hard to pinpoint any one thing. The year that we did the double obviously stands out though. The one moment in that year would have to be the game against Munster. The atmosphere was incredible. Talking to the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Josh Lewsey and Joe Worsley after the game, they were all saying that it felt like a test match atmosphere. We were on the bus down to the game and all you could see were red jerseys everywhere, all whacking the bus and yelling whatever they were yelling. It got to the game and there was just a sea of red jerseys again, with just a little patch of Wasps jerseys in the corner. You couldn’t hear the person next to you if they were a metre or more away. When they scored their try to go in front it was deafening, it was pretty incredible. To come away from there with a win and to then go on and win the whole thing was pretty special. We had such a belief that year as a team that we never felt like we were going to lose that game, even when we went behind.”
Off the field too – the fullback will take plenty of memories with him.
“There have been a few highlights off the field as well but I don’t think I can speak about most of them! I think watching England win the World Cup in 2003 was a big highlight. I had been over here a few years and I knew quite a few of the guys playing in the side. I went into the pub at about 7.30 in the morning and I was with Phil Greening and a few of the other old boys and I was a little bit late so I had to play catch-up. That was pretty interesting! I don’t really remember much about the end of the game. There have been some good times over the years. It has been great.”
Van Gisbergen also recognised the fantastic support he has received at the club over the years.
"I would like to thank the fans for everything. Without them we would not play this crazy game! They all make it that much more special for us when we are out on the pitch and to hear their support and encouragement is always a real boost. Thanks to everyone."