New Zealand wing eager for first taste of Super Rugby with Sharks

2015-01-15 00:00

NEW Zealand wing Jack Wilson is no stranger to new environments but the prospect of playing in his debut Super Rugby season for the Sharks has the big man excited.

The Witness spoke to the former Saracen this week after he joined the Sharks in December.

Originally from Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty, Wilson started off his playing career as a loose forward at King’s College in Auckland. It was a move to Sevens at the University of Canterbury that uncovered his affinity for backline play.

“I got picked out for having a bit of pace and Bay of Plenty tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to turn into a wing,” Wilson said.

After a season with the New Zealand NPC side, Wilson found himself in the Saracens camp after holidaying in the UK. The move came about through Sharks prop Matt Stevens, who invited him to train with the English outfit.

“He got me in with the Sarries boys for a couple of days which turned into a couple of weeks. I was there for two years in the end — it was all very fortuitous,” he said.

Two years later, the 25-year-old joined the Sharks in a move he felt went very smoothly. Wilson was playing second fiddle to English wings Dave Strettle and Chris Ashton, who are looking to make the England World Cup squad.

“They were really pushing for spots in the English side and I wasn’t really getting the game time I was wanting. You get a bit frustrated but I was happy and going along with it. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but our CEO asked if I wanted to have a chat with John Smit so it stemmed from that.”

The Saracens coaching staff was happy for Wilson to take the new opportunity and the burly runner packed his bags and moved to Durban.

Relocating to South Africa posed a few challenges. Aside from the heat and a slight language barrier, Wilson has been a welcome addition to the Sharks family.

“The boys here have been awesome. I don’t speak Afrikaans or anything like that but most of the stuff is in English. Even in meetings, it’s all in English until some of the guys struggle to express themselves then they switch to Afrikaans. It chops and changes but there’s always someone who tells me what’s going on,” a grinning Wilson said.

Durban summers are notoriously hot and the training has been just as intense. But Wilson was pleasantly surprised by the pre-season sessions.

“You hear about some brutal South African pre-seasons and to come down to one that is really well looked after has been nice.

“It’s been hard work but you can see the benefit of it so you don’t mind working for that.”

Looking forward to his first Super Rugby season, Wilson believes the structures are in place for the Sharks to perform well on defence and attack.

“The Sharks, from what I’ve seen and heard, were very good defensively last year so there’s a good base. Attacking wise, they’ve really stepped it up this year so hopefully we are working towards something that will be good for the fans as well.”

Above all, Wilson is amped to run out on King’s Park for the first time.

“I used to have to wake up really early to watch Super Rugby games here and you always see King’s Park and think ‘what a stadium’, so I’m pumped up for that.”

The Sharks kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Cheetahs in Durban on February 14.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.