Captain Lukhanyo Am has given insight into the rejuvenation of the Sharks squad under new leadership this season.
The Sharks have sprung a surprise by emerging as the top-performing side in Vodacom Super Rugby so far this season and, according to Am, the upward trajectory is by and large thanks to a change in leadership and management.
Sean Everitt succeeded Robert du Preez as head coach, while Am has been inserted as team captain with Louis Schreuder, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch and Thomas du Toit appointed as co vice-captains.
The Sharks boast the most transformed squad out of the four South African franchises.
In an exclusive interview with New Frame Media, Am explained that the team had started from afresh following Du Preez’s hostile departure.
‘We have started afresh. We have a lot of new faces in the group, a new coach and really good energy,’ Am said.
‘We have a strong leadership group, but we also have no hierarchy. If you look around our team, there is no one who acts like a senior player or expects to be treated differently. It’s one team, and that’s why it works.
‘All the coaches are aligned to the same goal and I think you’ve now started to see us living it out on the field. There is a lot of backing for us as players, and that takes away the pressure.’
Of course, the Sharks’ Super Rugby momentum has been broken by the indefinite suspension of the competition due to the global Covid-19 health crisis.
Am admitted that the seriousness of the pandemic only fully sunk in when it started to spread throughout the world and affect South Africa.
‘It’s very scary, especially when you see how quickly it is spreading around the world. When we first heard of it, the virus was just something in China. Now it’s on our doorstep, and it is completely understandable why we have had to stop everything.’
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