Bok legend

JP Pietersen in his playing days. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Farewell JP Pietersen: Looking back at retired Sharks wing’s career

Springboks legend JP Pietersen has officially retired from rugby at the age of 34, and we look back at his illustrious career.

Bok legend

JP Pietersen in his playing days. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Springboks legend JP Pietersen has officially called time on his illustrious rugby career at the age of 34.

On Friday, Pietersen announced his decision to hang up his boots, and he will be remembered as one of the legends of the rugby game in the country.

The news comes days after another Sharks star in Lwazi Mvovo also retired from the game.

As South Africa bids farewell to the man who will now be taking up a junior coaching role at the Sharks, it is worth looking back on Pietersen’s career highlights and what he will be remembered for.

Born in Stellenbosch 34 years ago, Pietersen joined the Sharks academy straight out of school [Hoerskool Generaal Hertzog] in 2005 as an ambitious boy.


Pietersen made his provincial debut for the Durban-based side as a 19-year-old during the 2005 Currie Cup season.

He would be promoted to the first senior team a year later after showing great potential in the Sharks academy, and this was the beginning of what he has achieved in his playing career.

Despite struggling with injuries in his first few months as a professional, Pietersen was still able to make the U21 squad for the 2006 Rugby World Championship in France.

South Africa reached the final, only to be defeated by France.

The Rugby World Championship appeared to be a stepping stone for Pietersen, who was called up to the Springboks Tria Nations squad soon afterwards, making his debut for senior team against New Zealand.

Pietersen was a top try-scorer in the 2007 Super 14 with 12 tries from 15 matches, and he was part of the Springboks’ 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.

South Africa conquered the world with Pietersen contributing immensely to that success by chipping in with a few tries, including two against England.

He became a household name after the 2007 World Cup, and he would go on to cement his legendary status with some fantastic displays for both the Sharks and the Springboks, although his form dipped in 2008 as he failed to score a single try during the 2008 Super 14 season.


But he bounced back, and was included in the Springboks’ squad for the 2011 World Cup.

In 2013, Pietersen left the Sharks to join Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights for the 2013-14 season.

He would return to the Sharks a year later before again leaving for greener pastures in 2016 – at the time, Pietersen had signed a three-year deal with Leicester Tigers.

However, his stay in Leicester was cut short as he was released to Toulon in 2017.

Pietersen re-joined the Sharks in 2019 to complete what was an incredible career which now includes 137 Super Rugby caps and 70 Test caps for the Sharks.

He retired with 195 Super Rugby points under his belt.