C’est le Wies

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 Mar 2014 at 13:56
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

It’s a terrible headline, of course, but I guess what I’m trying to convey here is two things. Bear with me, if you would be so kind…

Obviously it’s meant to be a pun on the French “c’est la vie”, or “that’s life”, referring to Pieter-Steph du Toit’s season-ending injury and the fact that injuries like those are a very real part of the life of any rugby player. While this sort of thing is tragic, the Sharks cannot allow the loss of one player, however influential, to affect their bigger plans and goals and with a strong squad and experienced coaches at the helm, I am sure they can quickly put this behind them (no disrespect meant to Steph, of course) and move on with the season. Injuries are a part of life. They happen, you adapt, you move forward.

Now wouldn’t it be great if we had a 100-test veteran ready to step in at number 5? The reality is that we don’t and now need to back another youngster who has a huge opportunity ahead of him. C’est le Wies, which is terrible French for “now is the time for Stephan Lewies to show the whole world exactly why the Sharks coaching staff rate him so highly”. Succinct, innit?

When looking at that most dreaded item of rugby jargon, “junior pedigree”, I think it’s safe to say that Lewies simply doesn’t bat, certainly not when compared to JWC winner du Toit. The lanky 22-year-old from an unfancied school in Centurion isn’t descended from any Bok greats, nor did he get anywhere near the Bulls Craven Week team – in fact, so unknown was he as a youngster that his SA Rugby profile doesn’t even list which high school he attended (Eldoraigne, as it turns out). Coming to the Sharks Academy as a left-field pick, he battled with injury throughout his junior career and really surprised everyone last year as he rose through the ranks, within a very short space of time, to end up with a Currie Cup winner’s medal. What he did manage to in the process, though, was make a big impression on Brendan Venter and the new coach, Jake White, seems to share the previous one’s opinion; after all, he’s picking Lewies week in and week out, while more experienced locks play Vodacom Cup.

Venter was impressed with Lewies because, aside from his unusual pace and athleticism for such a big guy, he showed an incredible aptitude – and appetite – for the more cerebral aspects of the game. In other words, he’s a bright young man, a real thinker and together with du Toit, worked well with Venter on line-out analysis towards the end of the Currie Cup campaign. Here’s a player, in other words, who has the “goods” to make it as a 5-lock in the modern game. All he really needs is a chance.

And now he has that chance, because let’s face it, the Sharks’ number 5 jersey is Lewies’s to lose. As if any further carrot was needed, the very real prospect looms of a place in Heyneke Meyer’s midyear squad for any local player who shows aptitude in that jersey too, given the dearth of talent in the position. Now, please don’t think I’m trying to argue for Bok inclusion before the poor guy has enjoyed even a single start in Super Rugby; the point is rather that the sky really is the limit for young Stephan and literally anything is possible for him now.

There’s your silver lining right there, Sharks fans – like the guy playing next to him, Stephan Lewies has shown that it is possible to come up the hard way, that Craven Week and SA Under 20 aren’t the only sure route to Super Rugby selection. Let’s hope he can couple that fighting spirit with his natural talent as a lineout forward and prove, over the course of the next few months, that du Toit’s tragic injury isn’t quite the hammer blow that we currently perceive it to be.

“Vervul jou roeping” (“fulfill your calling”) stands proudly emblazoned on the badge of Eldoragins Hoërskool. It’s time for her proudest son to live up to those words.


  • Thanks Rob. Lets see this lad has all the support to step up.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.03.14 14:04:27 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Rather eloquently put. More talent than most, if not all, of SA Rugby’s so called pundits.

    Lewie’s to me has huge potential, and kudos to the talent scouts the Sharks have had over the years. Where would players like Charl Mcleod, Marcel Coetzee, Bresler and this kid be?

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.03.14 14:09:58 by Talent Reply
  • Back him we will all do. Your article is a nice story but….We have a S15 tournament to win. Lineouts key to any team’s success. Kanko can help, but you are playing very strong teams in the next four weeks and only one of your three locks have real S15 experience. The difference between PSDT and Lewies is day and night. I am concerned !

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.03.14 14:14:51 by Observer Reply

  • Its important to back our structures for a number of reasons. This guy is next in line so use him.

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.03.14 14:18:16 by Talent Reply
  • This unfortunate injury also brings Peet Marais one step closer to playing Super Rugby.

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.03.14 14:26:14 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • great article, very well put and written!

    Although am absolutely gutted to see du Toit out for season, am hopeful there’s another great talent emerging in Lewies.

    On a separate note – any news on how close young prop Thomas du Toit is to making a matchday squad?

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.03.14 14:46:53 by Alan Moscrop Reply

  • I’ve no doubt Lewies will show us why he has had the backing of two of the best rugby minds (Venter and White).

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.03.14 14:49:31 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I live close to Eldoraigne and believe you me, nothing wrong with Centurion High Schools except their names aren’t Affies/Waterkloof/Pta Boys. Just ask Hoerskool Garsfontein, same issues. Go Lewies!!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.03.14 14:59:49 by catfish Reply
  • Very nice article Rob, thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    No, reason why Lewies can’t come through to make us all proud!

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.03.14 15:02:16 by Bump Reply

  • @catfish (Comment 8) : I fell very deeply in love with a girl from Eldoraigne when I was a teenager. Sigh.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.03.14 15:02:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Good read, well written Rob

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.03.14 15:09:36 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Same here. I ended up marrying her. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.03.14 15:10:44 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : how sweet 🙂

    Also fell in love with a girl who has the same last name as you, at one stage.

    I used to fall in love a lot.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.03.14 15:13:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The working man’s hero….I like!

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.03.14 15:15:27 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Nice message. But worst headline here in a long time. 😈

    Good luck young man!

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.03.14 15:27:55 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Look I make a BIG fuss about PSDT!!! So I Wish Lewies ALL the best for the year and may he make us all proud! I will give you the same support I have given PSDT!
    I wish for you to annihilate Oupa Vic out of the bok squad!

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.03.14 16:06:18 by R Hayward Reply

  • Sometimes the hard road makes you more bloody minded in terms of achieving your goals. Time to step up and show how much you want it . Good luck and makes us proud!

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.03.14 18:39:59 by Vince Reply

  • Great article Rob. Well put and interesting!

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.03.14 18:41:58 by [email protected] Reply

  • @[email protected] (Comment 18) : Thanks 🙂

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.03.14 19:16:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The loss of pieter stef is huge! I believe his loss will expose our shortcommings at 4 more than at 5. Piet stef has always been massively physical and I have always believed that he has compensated for our lack of a large aggressive no4. Historically we have always had a strong lineout. Weve always had good hookers … our problem in the last year or two I believe was a lack of consistancy and experience caused by the huge churn in second row resources. But today even though we have some good players coming through we have not found a robust no4. With piet steph missing we may just be exposed.

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.03.14 20:43:27 by byron Reply

  • @byron (Comment 20) : Bresler is as imposing as they come.

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.03.14 22:25:13 by Talent Reply
  • @Talent (Comment 21) : specially with that mullet 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.03.14 23:24:05 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Firstly I want to say strongz to Psdt. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he comes back stronger then ever.
    This piece was so well written that I almost broke a tear….
    ok you don’t break a tear… but I am sure that Lewies will be good and that is why we as Sharks supporters should remember….Marcel was a nobody as was a bunch of others until we showed our faith in a young man playing a game we all love…

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.03.14 23:38:20 by REM Reply


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