Lukhanyo Am as the new captain of the Sharks may seem like a left-field decision, but I believe it is an inspired one for a squad that lost a raft of senior players after Super Rugby last year.
Am, now 26 and a World Cup winner, is assuming elder statesman status at Jonsson Kings Park, especially when you consider that the Sharks have lost the likes of the Du Preez twins (Daniel and Jean-Luc), Ruan Botha, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Philip van der Walt and Jacques Vermeulen, A glance at the 45-man squad announced yesterday by coach Sean Everitt for this year’s Super Rugby season reveals an abundance of exciting youth, but not a lot of seasoned leaders.
Last year’s captain, Louis Schreuder is among that number but I reckon he is not continuing as captain because he is under serious pressure for the No 9 jersey from Sanele Nohamba, a star of last year’s Currie Cup and a revelation with his shrewd game management.
Reacting to his appointment as captain, Am spoke of the importance of the team culture at the Sharks: “It is a huge honour and privilege to be chosen to lead this team of brothers. We have an exciting new squad of players and management who are eager to make their mark and to see us grow as a group. We’ll all be working together with positivity and eagerness, making sure the team always comes first.”
SHARKS SUPER RUGBY SQUAD
Forwards – Andisa Ntsila, Celimpilo Gumede, Craig Burden, Dylan Richardson, Emile van Heerden, Evan Roos, Fezokuhle Mbatha, Henco Venter, Hyron Andrews, James Venter, JJ van der Mescht, John-Hubert Meyer, Jordan Sesink-Clee, Juan Schoeman, Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu, Le Roux Roets, Tera Mtembu, Michael Kumbirai, Mzamo Majola, Ox Nche, Phepsi Buthelezi, Ruben van Heerden, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul
Backs – Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Cameron Wright, Curwin Bosch, Grant Williams, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward, Jordan Chait, JP Pietersen, Louis Schreuder, Lukhanyo Am (capt), Lwazi Mvovo, Madosh Tambwe, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Murray Koster, Sanele Nohamba, Sbu Nkosi, Thaakir Abrahams