Former Pumas and Kings scrumhalf Johan Herbst is enjoying life after rugby after serious injury forced an early retirement.
At the age of 29, Johan Herbst would’ve wanted to add a few more years to his rugby career, especially after working hard to earn his shot among the professional ranks.
During his days studying at Stellenbosch University, he impressed enough for Maties during the Varsity Cup in 2009 and 2010 to secure a stint at Griquas in 2011. Thereafter, he went on to play for the SWD Eagles (2012 to 2013), EP Kings (2013), Southern Kings (2013) and Pumas (2014 to 2016).
However, struggles with injury motivated Herbst to embrace a second career in his field of study. He completed his BCom degree in Logistics during his days in Stellies.
“During my time at Stellenbosch, I really enjoyed my rugby, but I also knew it was important to complete my studies. Student life allowed me to balance both commitments,” Herbst told MyPlayers. “So when I suffered my injury, I felt at peace with the decision to start a second chapter.
“I had a great experience during my rugby career and I left with no regrets. I got to travel and see new things. My greatest memories was being named Backline Player of the Year at SWD in 2012 and making my Super Rugby debut for the Kings against the Western Force in 2013. Being part of the Pumas side to win the Vodacom Cup last season was amazing too.”
Herbst added that MyPlayers offered great assistance during the process of his retirement.
“I had good conversations with David de Villiers and Piet Heymans at the Players Organisation. They provided great advice,” explained Herbst. “Jonéll Bester also played a big part in helping me secure a job in logistics. After leaving the Pumas, I relocated back to Cape Town. She then organised an interview at a local company, and I managed to secure the job at the first attempt!”
Herbst is now a fleet controller at a transport business in Brackenfell. He advises all professional players to be willing to work their way up from the bottom again once they retire, just like they did at the start of their rugby careers.
“I found myself starting from the bottom at my new job. It’s very important that you’re willing to embrace the challenges and work your way through the ranks,” said Herbst. “I had to adapt a bit – life in the office is a bit different to life as rugby player. I now need to train before and after my time in the office, not during work!
“But I’m enjoying the new career. I started my days with training before receiving my first few sets of trucks. It’s been a few months later and I now manage a fleet of 22 trucks. I’m very happy with my growth so far and I’m excited to learn more in my field.”
By Gareth Duncan