Aphelele Fassi (right) in action for the Sharks against the Bulls. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

DURBAN – This time last year Aphelele Fassi was the sprightly new kid on the Currie Cup block, but already this year he is a senior player given the influx of youngsters into the Sharks team from last year’s victorious Under-19 squad.

Fassi, still just 21, already has 26 Currie Cup and Super Rugby caps for the Sharks, plus a Currie Cup winners medal, and now he (and the Sharks) are just one game away from another final.

Last week he was in sensational form against the Blue Bulls, with his line-breaks from the back playing a significant role in the Sharks winning and securing a place in Saturday’s semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

“These are the games you want to play in,” Fassi said. “As a young kid growing up, you are aware of the Currie Cup as the oldest competition in rugby. We have young players like Phepsi Buthelezi, Sanele Nohamba, Dylan Richardson, Evan Roos and Boeta Chamberlain that have just come into the system and they are very excited to be in a semi-final. They are seeing it as a huge honour and privilege, as am I.”

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Fassi is at pains to point out, though, that he is very much a youngster with plenty to learn. Earlier in the Currie Cup he lost his starting place for a few games after erratic performances.

“Obviously in a season you are going to have ups and downs but I told myself that negative energy does not belong to me,” he said. “Coach Sean (Everitt) told me what I needed to fix and after I regained my spot I found myself in a team playing well, so if my form is good now it is thanks to the team.

“The new guys bring a lot of energy and vibe, and even leadership - Phepsi is a proven leader (he captained the U19s last year). Sanele is enjoying learning from (injured) Louis Schreuder, and Cameron Wright and Boeta Chamberlain from (injured) Curwin Bosch.

The thing about these young guys is that they are not just learning, but also contributing.”

@MikeGreenaway67

 

The Mercury

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