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Sun Oct 26 03:53:07 SAST 2014

Mtembu named first black captain for Sharks

Sapa | 29 July, 2014 14:05
John Smit (Chief executive officer) of the Cell C Sharks with New Sharks Captain Lubabalo Tera Mtembu and Brad MacLeod-Henderson (Head Coach) of the Cell C Sharks during Cell C Sharks press conference at Jock Leyden Media Centre, Growthpoint Kings Park on July 29, 2014 in Durban, South Africa

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

Sharks director of rugby Jake White said Mtembu has the potential to become a more consistent Super Rugby player, who could claim international honours.

The 23-year-old, better known as Tera, will lead the side during the defence of 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."

The loose forward came through the Sharks Academy ranks, before making his Super Rugby and Currie Cup debuts in 2012.

Mtembu's impressive leadership qualities led to White handing him the captaincy duties often 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.

"I thank our CEO [John Smit], director of rugby, and the rest of our coaching staff for believing in me and for affording me this 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."

Mtembu has made 16 appearances in total for the Sharks in Super Rugby, nine of which came this season.

His most outstanding performance came when the Durban franchise secured a memorable 30-25 victory over finalists the Crusaders in Christchurch during May.

"I am delighted that Tera has been handed the captaincy for the Currie Cup tournament," Smit said.

"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.

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