A life-changing experience: Sharksworld chats to Jean Stemmet

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 11 Mar 2010 at 17:39
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“Let me tell you what – these last few months have been a life-changing thing for me!” When it comes to the opportunity to play for the Sharks, new signing Jean Stemmet battles to contain his enthusiasm. So how exactly did this promising talent from the Western Cape end up plying his trade at outside centre for the Sharks XV? Sharksworld investigates.

“I grew up in Paarl and attended Paarl Gimnasium,” Stemmet tells us, “playing for Western Province Academy and also the WP Craven week side while I was at school. I went on to play under 19 and under 21 rugby for Province as well as some Vodacom Cup, but then somehow I seemed to slip through the cracks. With Kobus van der Merwe in charge there I just stopped getting the opportunities to play.

“I then went to Stellenbosch University and played a bit of Varsity Cup rugby for Maties. Rudolf Straeuli called me up last year and invited me for an interview – and so I ended up at the Sharks.” Stemmet’s story is a familiar one, just the latest in a long list of talented junior players who have left the Western Province ranks to pursue careers elsewhere as a result of a lack of opportunities. “It was frustrating there – it seemed like there was no plan for us. They just always wanted to buy the high profile payers – the Habana’s, Fouries and Vermeulens. The Sharks are so much more professional in the structures they have and the way they treat people.”

The young man is steadily finding his feet in the Sharks system and clearly appreciates the way he is being treated by the administration and fellow players alike. “The people I’m dealing with here are treating me fairly and I can trust what they say to me,” he tells me. “I feel like I know where I stand and what I need to do to improve.” Although initially named in the wider Super 14 training group, Stemmet reveals that playing Super 14 this year wasn’t a part of the plan that was discussed with him when he moved.

“Rudolf felt that the step up from Maties – which is really a club side – to the Super 14 would be a very big one to make in just one season. Playing one or two bad games in the Super 14 can really damage your career and your reputation if you’re not ready for that, so we decided it would be best for me to play Vodacom Cup now and then go on to Currie Cup and maybe Super 15 next year. All of the guys in the Vodacom Cup team are really keen to play well and put pressure on the Super 14 squad anyway, so who knows what opportunities might come up later in the season? The Vodacom Cup only runs for 6 weeks, while the Super 14 still has months to go.

“Just taking part in the Super 14 squad training camp was a huge benefit for me. I learned so much from being around Springbok players and training with them and I’m already a much better player for it.”

Stemmet and his teammates are really focused on a good Vodacom Cup campaign and are determined to bring the trophy back to ABSA Stadium – to “put some pride back into the union”, as he puts it. Again he points out a contrast to the Province setup, where, he claims, “senior players who came down from the Stormers saw it as a real step down to play Vodacom Cup – they weren’t motivated at all and it rubbed off on the team. In the Sharks XV it is different, with the seniors really motivating the team to do well.”

Our discussion naturally moved onto this past weekend’s game against his former teamates, one which the Sharks XV lost by three points. Stemmet is clearly frustrated at the result. “We lost it in the first 20 minutes. Maybe it was down to a bit of inexperience in the team – especially amongst the backs. It’s only really Andries [Strauss] who’s played a lot of big rugby. Also, Louis Ludik was struggling a bit with fitness. We took too long to get into the game and before we knew it we were 17-0 down. It was a big occasion too in front of a big home crowd for Province and I think that affected us more than it should have. The team showed great character to come from 17-0 down to 23-all and it’s just unfortunate that we lost to a penalty right at the end. We’ll turn it around this week, though… just watch!”

Once again, I’m completely blown away by the level of commitment and enthusiasm shown by every member of this Sharks XV squad. Sharksworld would like to thank Jean for his time – as well as agreeing to be interviewed in a language that he concedes he is “still learning – although the girls in Durban are really helping me with my English”. The Sharks XV take on the Cheetahs in Empangeni this weekend and need as much support as we can give them. Get out there and show your colours, Sharks fans!


  • bad mouthing the WP set up??

    Later as one grows up one might learn that it is not always wise to burn bridges young man….

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.03.10 17:49:20 by grant10 Reply
  • Hehehehehehe

    Rob, what did you do? Lock all the Sharks XV players in a room and promise to release them AFTER they give you an interview. 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.03.10 17:57:32 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • maybe he should have a chat to Frans Steyn!

    en jy kan Afrikaans praat seun. ons sal verstaan!

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.03.10 18:05:00 by RugbyGal Reply
  • @grant10 (Comment 1) : maybe a bit fairer to add some context to this one? Jean’s issues with the WP structures date back to the time when Fester was involved – he is one of a large number of young players experiencing exactly the same frustration with the setup. This is hardly news.

    From a WP perspective, I’d argue that they are definitely getting their house back in order – the rise in prominence of young homegrown stars like Juan de Jongh, Gio Aplon, Joe Pietersen and is starting to bear fruit.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.03.10 18:19:34 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hopoe it keeps going well for him.

    Watched the last 10 min of that game. We should have taken the penalty when we got it. Could have been a draw.

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.03.10 18:21:43 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 5) : sorry typo. 🙄 hopoe = hope.

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.03.10 18:22:55 by Puma Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 4) :

    The Bulls got way to many of our young talent when Fester was there! 😈

    I think Rassie is busy working on that system! Conrad Hofman is one we DONT need to let go!

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.03.10 18:31:29 by RugbyGal Reply

  • @RugbyGal (Comment 7) : it’s definitely getting better there. If anything, it’s the Sharks who now seem to be going down the same route.

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.03.10 18:51:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) :

    Grey College not working for you no more? 🙄

    The Sharkies need to get a team in the Varsity Cup! And start from there! Even my home town has a team in the VC.

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.03.10 18:58:53 by RugbyGal Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 6) : dont worry brudda we understand typonese just fine 😀

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.03.10 19:10:29 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Ag cry me a river. WP cannot give every promising young man/boy a contract. Hardly any of the juniors currently contracted to WP didn’t go to school in the Western Cape. 🙄

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.03.10 21:25:44 by McLovin Reply

  • Good luck for the future Jean, hope your time at the Sharks is everlasting fun. Enjoy buddy.

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.03.10 21:33:19 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 11) : that the way mclovin oh and mclovin need some help where do you get your pic from tied of the one i got gee gran sits on her tits gee please help 😳 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.03.10 21:38:47 by Charmaine Reply

  • Well i dont blame Jean for leaving. WP were utterly useless while Fester and Mallet were in charge…
    Thank goodness we have a decent coach and Rassie taking a back seat also seems to be the right move.

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.03.10 23:10:58 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 14) : well hubby doesn’t have much time to watch the game and i missed something out what happened to Russie ❓ 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.03.10 23:22:40 by Charmaine Reply

  • @Charmaine (Comment 15) :

    Hey Charmaine,

    Rassie has been appointed as Director Of Rugby at WP and is no longer involved in the day to day coaching of the side.

    That is what I meant about him taking a back seat. 😉

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.03.10 06:42:06 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 16) : Ok my hubby wanted to know what happen to old Rassie because his name came up when they played and me just had no answers.
    But thank will let him know :mrgreen: 🙂 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.03.10 06:45:43 by Charmaine Reply

  • To my fellow WP supporters.

    Rassie has been there for what? 3 Years now?

    Which in the current squad of Stormers and WP CC players have come through the ranks in WP rugby? Let’s work out a percentage…

    Take the starting line-up from the CC semi last year, and this weekend’s Stormers team.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.03.10 08:14:36 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 18) :

    Oh, sorry, wanted to add who came through under Fester, and who came through under Rassie…

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.03.10 08:15:40 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 19) :

    Sheesh. I am not quite sure.

    One has to ask who came through while Mallett was DOR. He was involved in setting up the High Performance Centre wasn’t he??

    I can think of Wicus Blaauw, JC Kritzinger, Deon Fourie, Juan De Jongh, Joe Pietersen was around since Mallett’s days.

    And so too Conrad Hoffman who played for WP in the 2006 CC.

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.03.10 08:27:56 by wpw Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 18) : Let’s do that for all the teams. Even the Aus/NZ sides.

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.03.10 08:32:13 by McLovin Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 20) :


    Mallet and Fester brought through quite a few guys.

    Comparitively, Rassie has not done much at all in 3 years.

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.03.10 08:35:20 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 22) :

    Except BUY some decent players like:

    De Waal
    Luke Titus
    Duvenage (from Boland)

    DAMN, he bought loads of players!! 😯 😯

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.03.10 08:45:07 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 23) :


    50 Randjies vir jou komplimente van ABSA bank.

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.03.10 08:47:00 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 24) :

    Dankie Oom Johan!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.03.10 09:34:01 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 20) : Wicus Blaauw was at the PUK, wasnt he??
    @RugbyGal (Comment 9) : what town u from??

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.03.10 09:48:41 by VanWilder Reply

  • Jeezaz I almost forgot about Kobus vd Merwe ❗

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.03.10 10:37:11 by provincejoulekkading Reply

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