The San Diego Legion re-signed Joe Pietersen for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 36-year-old flyhalf/fullback (37 in May) is 5’10”, and 180 lbs.
He joined the team at the end of the 2018 season, starting and playing 80 minutes in 1 match during the regular-season and scored 14 points with a try, 3 conversions, and a penalty goal. He also played in the playoff semifinal against the Seattle Seawolves. In 2019 the captain played in all 17 games for the team in 2019 and was selected to the first All-MLR team. He played 1139 minutes, scored 4 tries, had 163 points, which represented a third of the team’s total points. This was 123 points greater than any other teammate. He had 91 carries for 991 meters, 8 linebreaks, 11 tackle breaks, 90 offloads, 91 tackles, and 142 kicks for 5,022 meters. During the regular season, his 118 kicks for 4044 meters, both ranked first in MLR.
During the COVID-19 shortened season, he started 2 matches at fullback and was a dominant player in the team’s attack.
Joe Pietersen (Johan Christiaan Pietersen) is from Vryheid, South Africa. He attended Grey College from 2000-2002. He also went to Stellenbosch University.
Joe has had an extensive rugby playing career. He played with the Western Province youth team in 2003-04 and in 2004 played on the South Africa Under-20s Currie Cup team. He also played for the South Africa Sevens team in the 2004 HSBC World Sevens Series, earning 2 caps with the Blitzbokke.
Between 2004 and 2010 played with Western Province’s Senior team, playing in the Currie Cup and in the Vodacom Cup. He also played for the Super Rugby Stormers from 2006-2010.
He moved to France in 2010 to play for Top 14 club, Bayonne, before returning to Western Province for their 2012-13 season. He also returned to the Stormers during the same time frame.
Joe then returned to France to play with Biarritz in 2013-14. In 2015 he spent the first part of the year with the Free State Cheetahs and then with the Sharks in the Currie Cup.
He continued with the Cell C Sharks in 2016 before moving to Japan to play with the Kamaishi Seawaves in the Top East League from 2016-2018. In the 2017 off-season, he trained with the Stormers and mentored the younger players, volunteering his time.
In 2018 he moved to the U.S. and joined the San Diego Legion after the 2018 MLR season had begun. His experience, leadership, and boot helped the team advance to the MLR semi-finals. That leadership will continue in 2019 and will include some coaching responsibilities as well.
Joe has many passions, with rugby being one of them. He enjoys his free time surfing, is a conservationist, and enjoys drone photography. He founded Nkombe Rhino NPC in 2015, which operates as an anti-poaching unit, promotes conservation and tourism. To promote his conservation efforts, he rode the uBhejane Xtreme Mountain Bike Challenge to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching.