SA U20 captain looks to make mark at Sharks
Cape Town - Having spent last season with the troubled Kings, Jeremy Ward will be itching to get going in a Sharks jersey in 2017.
Ward, a 20-year-old centre, was announced as one of the Sharks' new signings back in July and he has been heavily involved in pre-season training over the past few weeks.
With the Sharks players preparing for a mini-break over the festive season, Ward will have a chance to spend some time with his family and prepare for what could be a breakthrough season for him.
Having grown up in Port Elizabeth, Ward played Craven Week for Eastern Province for two years before representing the province at Under-19 level, then making his senior debut in this year’s Currie Cup competition followed by Under-21 and Super Rugby experience.
He is no stranger to success and his honours include being a part of the EP Under-18 Craven Week side that were crowned ‘unofficial’ 2014 champions (there is no league format in that competition) and he captained the EP Under-19 side to Under-19 Provincial Championship honours in 2015, for the first time in the Union’s history.
Earlier this year he captained the South Africa Under-20 side that competed at the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship tournament held in England
"I’m extremely happy with how things went this year," Ward told the Sharks website.
"If you had told me at the beginning of this year that I’d be joining the Sharks, I would have called you a liar. It’s been an incredible year and I’m hoping the momentum continues."
Ward will be looking to new head coach Robert du Preez for his chance in next year's competition, but he is boosted by the fact that Du Preez comes with a reputation of backing youngsters.
"That was a big factor in my choice of The Sharks, that there are opportunities here," said Ward.
"I’m not just expecting to walk into the team, but if any opportunities do come my way, I will take them and make the most of them.
"At school, I played alongside Curwin Bosch for a few years so it’s nice to be playing in the same team as him again."
Ward is also in his third year of studying Chartered Accountancy.
"It’s extremely important to study, you never know how long your rugby career will last and it’s important for me to have something that I can fall back on," he said.