JP Pietersen, the 2007 Springboks World Cup winner, has called time on a 16-year playing career to take up a junior coaching role at the soon-to-be Guinness PRO16 Sharks. The 34-year-old winger made his last appearance in an October Super Rugby win for the Sharks over the Lions.
Pietersen joined the Sharks academy in 2005 straight out of school and went on to play more than 180 times across two spells with the South African franchise. He also played for the Wild Knights in Japan, Leicester in England and Toulon in France.
Capped 70 times by the Springboks, Pietersen was a starting winger when South Africa defeated England in Paris to win the 2007 World Cup while he also featured in the 2009 Test series victory over the British and Irish Lions.
Pietersen said: “It has been an absolute privilege and an honour to play for the Sharks, a team that I have supported all my life and through that journey, I got to represent my country.
“I close this chapter on my playing career knowing that I gave my very best to the game that gave me everything I have. I was very fortunate that I took the opportunities I had and now it is all about giving back to rugby, passing on what I have learned in my career.
JP Pietersen has called time on an illustrious rugby playing career that has spanned 16 years. Having played over 180 games for the Cell C Sharks, he bows out having achieved more than he ever dreamed off.?
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) February 5, 2021
“I take this opportunity to thank every person that has had an impact on my life and career. I cannot thank you enough. The Sharks have given me a wonderful opportunity to move into a coaching role and I’m excited for what the future holds. I hope I can make a positive impact in my new role.”
Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee added: “We congratulate JP on a fantastic playing career. His professionalism over the years and loyalty to the Sharks brand will always be admired. “To have someone of his calibre enter the Sharks junior coaching structures is a massive plus for us.
“His wealth of experience and success at all levels bodes well for the youngsters that he will get to mentor. JP is truly deserving of all the success he has achieved, and we are positive that the proud legacy he has carved out in his playing career, will continue in this new chapter as a coach.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 4, 2021
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