Jeremy Ward enjoying life at the Sharks
Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co.za
Durban - Sharks centre Jeremy Ward says he’s made the most of his opportunities on and off the field during his first Super Rugby overseas tour.
Jeremy Ward, who turned 21 on January 10, has quickly risen through the ranks at the Sharks since making his move from Port Elizabeth following an impressive individual 2016 season at domestic and international levels.
Ward, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Southern Kings and captained the Junior Springboks last year, impressed the coaches enough during a challenging pre-season schedule to earn a spot on the Sharks touring team to Australia. He featured off the bench in their two matches against the Reds and Brumbies.
The Grey High old boy said he’s embracing the step-up to the senior ranks.
“I’ve had a great introduction at the Sharks... a great but a tough one as well,” Ward told MyPlayers. “It was always going to be a challenge when it comes to training and playing among the seniors, but it is a challenge that I’ve fully embraced. I’ve enjoyed every minute of this new journey at the Sharks so far and I look forward to everything still to come.
“Super Rugby is also a great challenge. I had a small taste of the tournament with the Kings during the final league rounds (against the Lions and Stormers) and the game was played at a faster pace than anything that I’ve been used to! I do feel that having a full pre-season with the Sharks has allowed me to become more accustomed to it.”
Ward added that the Sharks seniors have played a big role in helping him settle in.
“So many of the guys have helped out. Senior players like Pat Lambie, Beast Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Keegan Daniel, Lwazi Mvovo and Chiliboy Ralepelle, just to name a few!” said Ward. “They are all fantastic mentors. To see the way they conduct themselves on and off the field, the way they train and the professionalism that they show towards the game… it’s great to be able to learn from them.”
Otherwise, Ward has enjoyed the coastal surrounds of Durban, where he has set himself rugby and career developments goals.
“Durban is an awesome city to live in. I grew up on the coast in PE, so I’m really happy that Durban isn’t much different,” explained Ward. “My off days often consist of me spending a bit of time on the beach. I have also started to try my hand at golf… a few golf balls have already gone missing in the process, though!
“In terms of rugby, I have set myself goals. In the short term, I feel that I’ve still got so much to learn - so I’m focused on playing as many games as I can for the Sharks. I’m really excited to see where this season takes me.
“Longer down the line, the ultimate goal is to pull on the green and gold of the Springbok jersey over my shoulders, but I know I have a few more boxes to tick before I can even start thinking about that. What’s also important to me is just to enjoy every moment. I am extremely privileged to be able to do what I do, so I need to make sure that I enjoy myself and stay humble at all times.
“Off the field, I have already started preparing for life after rugby as I’ve done a year and a half of my BCom Accounting degree. Unfortunately, my busy commitments in recent months have forced me to put my studies on hold, but it’s definitely a priority to pick things up again in the near future. It is so important for all of us to have something to fall back on after rugby. We need to be prepared for all scenarios, so my studies is something that I find very important.”
For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za