Van Ster’s love for rugby keeps him coming back for more
IF THE Florida Park faithful had their way, they would give Tygerberg prop Jaybee van Ster a hero’s send-off when he plays his final match for the club this year.
I imagine it to be a grand affair – a packed stadium and perhaps a testimonial match involving all the club’s legends of years gone by.
The guy deserves nothing less. Over the past 22 years, Van Ster – who joined the club in 1994 – has given his heart and soul to the Tiere and has seen it all at club level.
He was there when Tygerberg first won the Western Province club rugby trophy in 1998, he was there every single time they beat Maties, he played alongside fellow greats such as Stanley Raubenheimer, Trevor Arendse, John Dempers and Dennis Vollenhoven and he has seen rookies such as Brendall Brandt grow up to become one of the current first-team coaches.
And now, Van Ster, 42, has been battling with the idea of retirement for seven years.
“My wife, Elouise, and children understand and support my way of life. It’s basically work, rugby and then home. On Sundays we go to church and on Saturday’s they are there next to the field supporting me. I have been toying with the idea of retirement for a while now, actually since the age of 35. But I just keep on coming back for the love of this club and for the love of the game. But this year is the year,” said Van Ster.
He is also the first to admit that his relationship with the club is a two-way street.
“I don’t have the words to explain what this club means to me. They gave me the platform to play provincial rugby (for Western Province), they allowed me to send my children off to university and I want to say thanks to all the coaches over the years and Peter Jooste, Abraham Jooste, Balla Croy, Stemmet Titus and obviously my wife and kids for all the support over the years,” said Van Ster.
Being described by his fellow front- ranker at the club, Tiny van Wyk, as his role model, Van Ster understands he has a vital role to play in the Ravensmead community as one of the Tiere’s true legends.
“It does make me feel good, but I still want to be their teammate at the end of the day. So you have to find the balance (between respect and being a teammate). I’m not from Ravensmead originally, but the people over here know me – young and old. Like Piet (Jooste) always says, we are in a community where the struggle is real. But on Saturdays, people pay their R20 at the gate and for those 80 minutes they forget about their debt and problems at home. They want enjoyment out of the game and that’s what we play for,” he said.
He might hang up his boots for real this time, but Van Ster admits that the game will still be very much part of his life.
“I would like to be a scrum advisor (when I’m done playing). That’s where I can take youngsters’ hands and properly share the experience I have gained over the years. So as for life after rugby, I’d say more rugby,” he concluded.
IS THIS THE YEAR? Jaybee van Ster has been toying with the idea of retirement.