Loose forward Lubabalo 'Tera' Mtembu will captain the Sharks during their 2014 Currie Cup campaign.
He will become the union's 72nd captain, but more importantly the first black captain when he leads the Sharks out against Griquas in Kimberley for their first Currie Cup match of the season. Having come through the Sharks Academy ranks, the talented Mtembu made his Sharks breakthrough during the 2012 season, featuring in both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup sides. Speaking on the decision to appoint Mtembu as captain, Sharks director of rugby Jake White was confident that he would grow into the role.
'Tera is a talented player and I have great faith in his ability,' said White. 'My hope is that he embraces this leadership role and gains valuable experience as the tournament progresses, which will assist us in grooming him to take the next step into becoming a more consistent Super Rugby player, who can eventually stake a claim for international honours.'
While the appointment may come as a surprise to some, Mtembu has been developing his captaincy skills in the Vodacom Cup this season when not on senior duty for the Sharks. Former Springbok captain and current Sharks CEO John Smit believes that the added responsibility will help him reach a new level.
'I am delighted that Tera has been handed the captaincy for the Currie Cup tournament,' said Smit. 'I believe that he has the talent and perseverance to become a great player. 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. This is an incredible achievement for a gifted player who has many years of rugby ahead of him and this responsibility will certainly motivate him to strive for greater heights in his career.'