Mvovo enjoying the mentor role
Durban - There's an exciting mix of experience and exuberance of youth in the Sharks camp ahead of another tough Super Rugby campaign, which starts next month.
There are some new players keen to impress and secure a playing spot in the side while on the other side of the coin are the names that have been around the block with the Durban franchise for the past few seasons and more.
One of the senior players is flying wing Lwazi Mvovo, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the mix.
A crowd favourite for his burst of speed and ability to pounce on any mistakes from the opposition, Mvovo is a fine example to the rest of his team-mates, putting the Sharks first and giving his best for what lies ahead.
“It’s great to be back and building up a sweat again on the field,” he said in Durban last week.
“That first game of the campaign is always important as we want to get off to a great start and get things moving.
“Playing away against the Reds in Australia first up will be a challenge but we will be ready to meet it head on, sticking to our gameplan and the style of rugby we play best.”
Mvovo added that the new players had slotted into the system well and were learning the Sharks culture.
“I am seen as a senior player now and find I am sharing and advising the new boys as they settle into the system.
“I enjoyed that when I first broke into the set-up and it’s exciting to see their passion and enthusiasm,” he said.
“They never stop learning and I continue to learn from them as well. It’s a healthy system to work in.”
As far as his Springbok aspirations are concerned, Mvovo was in no doubt that for now, the Sharks come first.
“Now I must take care of ‘home’ and that is here, with the Sharks.
“The Springboks only come into the picture mid-year and I am not even thinking of that right now,” the experienced winger said.
“At the moment, it’s about wanting to win and keeping the youngsters hungry for what lies ahead.”
One of those youngsters is former Western Province flank Jacques Vermeulen, who has made the move up the coast this season. A product of Paarl Gym school, he saw out a three-year contract at Newlands before arriving in Durban.
“It was a difficult decision but I felt the need to move in order to create better opportunities for me to get game time,” the 21-year-old former Baby Bok said.
“It’s been easy to adapt and everyone has been welcoming.
“I am young and feel I have made the right move, although I will have to work to get a place in the team or even on the bench with the Sharks.”
Able to play on the flank and at No. 8, Vermeulen is recognised as a hard grafter who takes the game to the opposition. He played against the Sharks in the Currie Cup last season and was one of the Province standouts among the forwards.
“There are some tremendous loosies here at the Sharks but I will put my skills on the table and see what I can bring to their gameplan.
“Running rugby is important to me and with coach Robert du Preez having a strong emphasis on that style of play and encouraging players to follow their natural game, I am confident I will be pulling on a Sharks jersey soon,” said Vermeulen.