SPRINGBOK wing Lwazi Mvovo will start his 10th Super Rugby season against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and he is particularly excited about what a number of new faces, on both the coaching and playing staff, have brought to the Sharks.
Omar Mouneimne (defence) and Robert du Preez (attack) have joined head coach Gary Gold and have transformed the Sharks’ approach with their imaginative, enthusiastic coaching.
“The new coaches have brought so much to the Sharks,” Mvovo said. “The guys have learnt and are willing to take on board whatever the new coaches are teaching us. There are new voices and so many new ideas. The guys are excited about the season.
“Omar adds something different and, judging from the two games we have played already, there will be a lot of excitement in defence. He has brought so much experience and a different way of defending.”
Mvovo said he was also delighted to be linking up with Springbok fullback Willie le Roux, who has joined the Sharks from the Cheetahs. He said that Le Roux was not only dynamic on attack, but was also composed under pressure.
“I think Willie is a world-class player, and that experience at the back eases the tension and nerves,” Mvovo said. “As a member of the back three combination, I am very excited in showing what we can do.”
But, of course, Mvovo, Le Roux and JP Pietersen can only strut their stuff at the back if the Sharks forwards lay the platform and Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, another signing from the Free State, is determined to make an immediate impact up front.
“I have to establish myself and the big thing for me is to earn respect and become a role model for the Sharks,” he told the media this week.
Oosthuizen, a retreaded loosehead, has been criticised for conceding too many penalties at scrum-time and as he learns his trade on the tighthead.
He said that there was a need to balance his enthusiasm with a level-headed approach — starting against the Kings, the Super Rugby newcomers, on Saturday.
“While we are aiming to come out firing, so are they. They are at home and have a point to prove to the world. It is going to be a heck of battle.”
Oosthuizen, a beach enthusiast, is enjoying his leisure time at the coast.
“Durban does have its attractions,” he said, “but I won’t include the humidity. For a Bloem man, our pre-season training was hectic.”
Gold will announce his Sharks team for the Super Rugby opener at a press conference today and Saturday’s match kicks off at 3 pm.