Cape Town - Pumas lock Lubabalo "Giant" Mtyanda hopes his training stint with the Sharks will earn him a spot in their final Super Rugby squad.
The 28-year-old was invited to join the Sharks pre-season training group after showing impressive form for the Pumas during the 2014 Currie Cup. He has spent the past two weeks in Durban, hoping to make the team's final Super Rugby squad for this season's campaign.
The Sharks kick off their tournament when they face the Cheetahs at Kings Park on February 14.
The Sharks, who are aiming for their maiden Super Rugby title after falling short during the playoffs in recent seasons, are hoping to build depth in their squad, especially in the lock department. While Pieter-Steph du Toit has returned to training after recovering from serious injury (ACL joint), Stephan Lewies is still struggling with injury.
Mtyanda has a chance to prove his worth before the Sharks coaches finalise their squad.
"I'm really enjoying the experience here at the Sharks," Mtyanda told MyPlayers.co.za. "The coaches will decide to include me or not over the next few weeks before Super Rugby kicks off. So far, I've heard only good things from them, but let's see what happens.
"I'm learning so much. We're spending a lot of time at training, making sure we're in good shape. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be here."
Mtyanda, who represented the Emerging Springboks in 2013, is still contracted with the Pumas until 2016, but will be allowed to play for the Sharks during Super Rugby if selected.
He's confident he can improve as a player if given the opportunity to feature for the Sharks.
"I've seen the Pumas players, who played for the Lions during the 2014 season, return as better players. When you're playing at higher levels like Super Rugby, you're playing against world-class opposition week in and week out."
Off the field, Mtyanda has gelled well with the Sharks players and is enjoying the coastal surroundings.
"Seeing the sea again reminds me of home back in Port Elizabeth, which is really nice," he said. "The other players have been really welcoming. I know some of the players, especially those who also come from the Eastern Cape. It's great being able to catch up with familiar faces."
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