DURBAN – At 33 years of age and with 205 caps under his belt for the Sharks, Lwazi Mvovo has seen it all on the rugby stage.
And he is certain Sunday’s Currie Cup clash with the Lions at Ellis Park (2pm kickoff) is going to be a humdinger.
Over the years, these two teams have had some fierce showdowns, especially at Ellis Park, a venue that brings the best out of the Sharks.
“There is always needle in these games,” Mvovo warns.
“I think it goes back to when the Sharks secured a bunch of Lions players, like Louis Ludik and Willem Alberts, and that brought an edge to the games between the teams.
“So, it is always a battle when you go there. There is no love lost between the sides, and every player on the field goes out to compete very hard.
“This Sunday will be no exception. We are facing a very tough assignment in Joburg because they are on top of the table and don’t like losing at Ellis Park, and they will be smarting from losing at home to the Blue Bulls last week.”
Mvovo also pointed out that the Lions won’t have forgotten getting a hiding from the Sharks in Super Rugby earlier this year.
“For a lot of the players, Ellis Park is a favourite ground, and we turned it on there earlier this season. They won’t want that twice in a year, so they will be waiting for us.”
Mvovo, the oldest player in the Sharks squad, took time out to praise the youngest player, Sanele Nohamba, 20, who had a superb run-on debut last weekend.
“Sanele was at DHS (Durban High School) two years ago, and last year was the Sharks Under-19s Player of the year (in a team that swept all before them), so the talent is obviously there,” Mvovo said.
“But talent can only take a youngster so far; those who go further have the right attitude and an openness to learning, and Sanele has that,” Mvovo added.
“He has a mature head on his shoulders. It showed last week when he got the Man of the Match award against the Cheetahs by playing within the team structures, but also expressing himself, which is very important because you want the talent to come through.”
Mvovo also highlighted Nohamba’s intelligent reading of the game and his quickness on his feet to get into position once he has anticipated the play.
“But Sanele is not the only youngster coming through,” Mvovo added.
“Coach Sean (Everitt) has brought in a number of those Under-19 guys and their desire to express themselves has added a lot of energy to the squad. These guys are very eager; they want to play in a Currie Cup final.”@MikeGreenaway67