Cronje keen to extend Sharks stay

Experienced playmaker Lionel Cronje says he is keen to play in the upcoming United Rugby Championship after making an impact at the Sharks on a loan deal for the Currie Cup.

Cronje previously played for the Sharks in 2014 and 2015, but returned to Durban on a short-term loan from Japanese team Toyota Verblitz.

The 32-year-old has made his presence known, both on and off the field, as a player and a mentor, as the Sharks finished second and progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Although he came to the Sharks on a loan for the Currie Cup, he doesn’t discount returning once more.

“I have travelled around a lot and struggled to find a home for myself in South Africa, so if the opportunity presented itself and the timing was right, I’d definitely consider it,” Cronje told the Sharks website.

“I’d love to play in the URC [United Rugby Championship] so it would be exciting to see what opportunities arise out of my short stint here.”

Despite having also played for the Cheetahs, Bulls, Western Province and Lions, a Currie Cup trophy has remained elusive for Cronje and would close out his brief time with the Sharks on a high note.

“From a leadership point of view, because I’m just here temporarily, I’m trying to add as much value off the field, particularly with the senior players and leaders in the team as well as adding a different dynamic with how we think of the game, which is something I’ve experienced with New Zealand coaches in Japan.

“Looking back to 2010, that was the last Currie Cup final I was involved with [for Western Province], and to win it would rank up there. I haven’t won many trophies and to win the oldest rugby competition in the world would be amazing.

“We have a really good opportunity to do that this year, it’s something we all dream of as youngsters in South Africa and not everyone has the opportunity, so I’m definitely pumped to try win the Currie Cup.”

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack