Lots of hard work and a little luck

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 6 May 2014 at 12:53
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

I caught up with a relaxed Stephan Lewies earlier today – the big Cell C Sharks lock enjoying some rare downtime as the team prepares for Saturday’s crunch Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies in Canberra.

I asked Stephan what his reaction would have been if, this time last year, I’d told him he’d have not only a Currie Cup winner’s medal, but also 10 Super Rugby caps to his credit just 12 months later. “I wouldn’t have believed you, to be honest,” he chuckles. “A year ago, I didn’t even dream of playing senior Currie Cup. Now after winning the Currie Cup last year, my goal was just to make my debut this year. Now I’m starting, so things have happened quickly and I’m just really grateful.”

Stephan’s career certainly has sky rocketed in recent months. I asked him what he thought the key factor had been. “I think it’s obviously putting in hard work” he says, adding “it’s just that when you get that chance, you have to use it! I mean, Brendan [Venter] gave me that chance last year and I just thought in life you get one chance and you have to take it. I knew that if you stuff up, the chance might never come around again. Once you have an established name, it’s not as bad if you make a mistake, but when you’re new and you mess up it’s a lot more serious.”

Stephan came to the Sharks as an unheralded youngster from a rather unfashionable school (in rugby terms). I wondered what sort of factor this played in motivating him to succeed. “After school, going to the Sharks there were a lot of Grey boys and Paul Roos boys – that just made me more determined to reach my goals, coming from a school that’s not really a big rugby school. That definitely motivated me a bit, ” he responded.

Looking at the Rebels match played out on Friday, the team clearly has goals that weren’t quite achieved. “I think we obviously did well”, Stephan says, “our goal was to win and we achieved that goal. We did make a lot of unforced errors and I just can’t wait for the game when those last passes go to hand – then I think we’re going to put 40 on the board. We know that we’re building towards that but maybe we should be keeping that game in the bag for the play-off.”

I joked that while we would love that perfect performance to come during the knockouts, we certainly wouldn’t complain if the Sharks were to put in a dress rehearsal of that performance against the Brumbies this weekend!

One thing that Lewies clearly is enjoying is learning his craft in a pack boasting seasoned Springboks on every side. “If you’re in a difficult situation on the field, they are all very calm and you can just be yourself – express yourself and play your game, ” he says. “They help me a lot and support me a lot in calling the lineouts, which is quite a daunting task as a young player. ”

Speaking of lineouts, Lewies is full of praise for one player in particular. “Victor Matfield must be the hardest guy to play against in the lineouts. That’s not a surprise.”

Asked about the physical challenges that the team has faced thus far – and whether South African derbies are in fact more physical than cross conference games, Stephan is non-committal. “The Highlanders came out very hard, but the game that really stood out was against the Bulls – that game was hugely physical. Also, I won’t throw away the Waratahs game – that was very physical. The derbies are tough but every country has it’s physical teams. I haven’t played against the Crusaders yet, but they look like and incredibly physical team. I’m really looking forward to that challenge.”

Stephan’s closing message is to the fans, particularly our loyal readers here at Sharksworld “Thank you for all the support, ” he says “the whole team really appreciates it. ”

We’d like to wish Stephan and the rest of the team all the best for the game to come and the remainder of the tour. Thanks as always to the Sharks for arranging the interview.


  • Great interview, thanx Rob! I like this guy – talk about grabbing your chances with both hands. He was given the opportunity (albeit through injury) to prove himself and he did just that. Given time I believe that he will grow into one of the best. Now go klap those Brumbies! 😛

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.05.14 13:16:46 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • Nice interview – sounds like a real down to earth nice bloke 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.05.14 13:33:44 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply
  • Nice interview.

    How about giving that no name brand school some exposure, Im sure they are as proud as punch for producing Stephan and would lap up some shine as well.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.05.14 13:38:43 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 3) : As far as I know it is Hoërskool Eldoraigne in Centurion. Right in the backyard of both Waterkloof and Affies, which makes it all the more significant.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.05.14 13:49:04 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) : correct.

    I’ve mentioned it a fair few times already 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.05.14 13:53:12 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) : @robdylan (Comment 5) : Thanks. I like it when these guys from minnow rugby schools make it big, Marcels case was particularly pleaseing.

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.05.14 14:00:14 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 6) : @robdylan (Comment 5) : Where does Marcel come from?

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.05.14 14:10:42 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • Just read something about something about Fred on his way home.. 😥 Dammit!

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.05.14 14:13:13 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • This guy feels to me like a big star in the making. He strikes me as being very humble and hard-working. Keep it up, Stephan!

    Go SHARKS!!!!!!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.05.14 14:14:10 by [email protected] Reply


  • Comment 10, posted at 06.05.14 14:17:08 by [email protected] Reply

  • @Another Nick (Comment 7) : Port Natal

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.05.14 14:33:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @[email protected] (Comment 9) : think it is sometimes better to come from “non rugby school” as he knows how to put in the hard work to make it and it’s not just given to him cause of his school.

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.05.14 15:09:18 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Skeptical at the outset and he proved me wrong. Apology !
    All the attributes of a top 5 lock at S15 level(even higher honours). Very fast and fancy footwork in gaps! His lineout abilities will further improve with time. PSDT and “socks” Lewies will form a formidable combination with PSDT more a 4 in that partnership ? Now we need young Peet in the mix and we will have great lock talent for the future. Last but not least give Etienne enough time to show himself?

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.05.14 15:38:14 by Observer Reply

  • Lewies has really impressed. His work ethic will take him far.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.05.14 17:36:39 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 14) : yes must agree with you. This guy impressed me the first time I saw him play, just something about him made me like him. Hope the Sharks did a good job on his contract.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.05.14 23:32:20 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator

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