Van Ster’s love for rugby keeps him com­ing back for more

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - DUD­LEY CARSTENS

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.

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