Mtembu set for American adventure

Sharks loose forward Tera Mtembu will move to the USA Major League Rugby tournament after signing a three-year contract with the New England Free Jacks.

Mtembu has been added to the Free Jacks roster for the 2021 Major League Rugby season and will leave the Sharks after spending almost his entire professional career with the Durban-based side to date.

The 29-year-old captained the Sharks in the 2016 and 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season as well as in the Currie Cup in 2014 and 2019.

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Since making his senior Sharks debut in the 2011 Currie Cup, Mtembu has tallied 47 Super Rugby appearances and 45 Currie Cup caps. He also played for the Junior Springboks in the 2010 U20 Championship and the Blitzboks in 2010 and 2011 before committing to the 15-man game.

‘I am grateful to the Free Jacks for giving me this awesome opportunity to join an exciting program and growing community,’ Mtembu said. ‘I am looking forward to the challenge, to learn new things, add value where I can and, most importantly, earn my teammates’ and the fans’ trust and respect.’

Mtembu joins a robust group of New England loose forwards and his impressive on-field performances at the Sharks will make him an immediate and demonstrable force in the growing Major League Rugby competition.

‘A proven leader and key contributor at Super Rugby level, Tera will not only be a tremendous asset on the field, but will display what it means to be a Free Jack and role model through his daily behaviors,’ Free Jacks performance manager Tom Kindley said.

‘With the ability to play across the back row, jump in the lineout and create havoc off the back of the scrum, Tera is a versatile, top-quality player that we are thrilled to welcome to New England. We are thankful to the Sharks for one of their finest sons and are excited to see Tera impart his knowledge and leadership to players and staff within the organization and Junior Jacks academy development squad.’

In addition to his on-field commitments, Mtembu is passionate about helping develop rugby in New England. As his charity of choice, Mtembu will support the nascent Free Jacks Foundation in its mission to make a difference in the next generation of New England rugby players and instil the values familiar to the game. He will assist in the academy programmes and work with players and coaches alike to grow the game of rugby in the region.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images