Mtembu makes history as Sharks’ new captain

Lubabalo Mtembu became the first black captain of the Sharks after the franchise confirmed his appointment on Tuesday July 29.

Jake White, the team’s director of rugby, said Mtembu has the potential to claim international honours, and become a more consistent Super Rugby player.

The 23-year-old, better known as Tera, will lead the side in defending their Currie Cup crown.

“Tera is a talented player and I have great faith in his ability,” White said. “My hope is that he embraces this leadership role and gains valuable experience as the tournament progresses.”

Impressive leadership qualities
The loose forward rose through the Sharks Academy ranks, before making his Super Rugby and Currie Cup debuts in 2012. His impressive leadership qualities led to White often handing him the captaincy duties during this year’s Vodacom Cup.

Mtembu said he looked forward to the challenge ahead of him. “It is a great honour and privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading a world-renowned team such as the Sharks,” Mtembu said.

He went on to thank chief executive John Smit, White and the rest of the Sharks’ coaching staff for believing in him and for affording him the opportunity.

“I know that I will have the support and backing of our coaching staff, younger players, and the senior group of players in our squad. As a team we will work together to ensure that we reach the goals we set out for ourselves in this year’s competition,” said Mtembu.

In total, Mtembu has made 16 appearances for the Sharks in Super Rugby, nine of which featured this season. His most outstanding performance was when the Durban franchise secured a memorable 30-25 victory over finalists the Crusaders in round 14 of the Super Rugby competition, which was held in Christchurch in May.

Smit expressed his delight over Mtembu’s captaincy ahead of the Currie Cup tournament. “He becomes the 72nd player to be given the honour of captaining a Sharks team and more impressively for him, the first black player to do so.”

The Sharks are set to begin their Currie Cup campaign against Griquas in Kimberley on August 9. – Sapa

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