The back-row’s performances for Leicester earned him a Test call-up. Jon Cardinelli finds out more
Who is Jasper Wiese: Ten things you should know about the South Africa back-row
After a stellar season for Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership, Jasper Wiese was called into the South Africa squad ahead of the series against the British & Irish Lions 2021.
He was named on the bench for their first warm-up fixture against Georgia – his Test debut – and below are more facts about the back-row.
Ten things you should know about Jasper Wiese
1. Jasper Wiese was born on 21 October 1995 in Upington. He grew up on a farm in the sparsely populated Northern Cape.
2. The junior school he attended was so small that it didn’t have enough pupils to field a rugby team.
Once a year, a tournament would be staged in the greater region. It is here where rugby-mad youngsters like Wiese and his two brothers enjoyed an outlet for their passion.
3. While he was on the smaller side in his younger days, Wiese admired Springbok behemoths such as Juan Smith, Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen.
4. After impressing for his high school team, Wiese was selected for the Griquas County Districts side to play in the national U18 Craven Week tournament. He scored a hat-trick against Border Country Districts.
5. As his school career drew to a close, Wiese planned to study agriculture and to follow in his father and older brother’s footsteps. Then he got an offer to play for the Central University of Technology in the Varsity Shield tournament.
6. The Free State Cheetahs offered the talented loose forward his first professional contract and brought him into their U19 set-up.
When the union fell on hard financial times in 2016, it was rumoured that Wiese would be released. At that point, he thought about retiring from the game and returning to the family farm.
7. The Cheetahs managed to retain Wiese’s services in 2016. A year later, the franchise bounced back from the disappointment of being cut from Super Rugby to join an expanded Guinness Pro14 in the northern hemisphere.
8. After a dramatic restructure of the latter tournament, the Cheetahs were deemed surplus to requirements. Star players were forced to seek opportunities elsewhere. Wiese left South Africa to take up a contract with Leicester in late 2020.
9. Having lived in an Afrikaans-speaking environment his whole life, Wiese struggled to adapt to a new language and culture. He made an immediate impact on debut against Gloucester, though, beating six defenders and running 73m with ball in hand.
10. Wiese’s younger brother, Cobus, progressed through the junior ranks to represent the Junior Boks and the Stormers. In 2020, the utility forward joined the large South African contingent at Sale Sharks.
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