Sharks Currie Cup captain heaps praise on coach Mongalo

Sharks coach Joey Mongalo ahead of a Currie Cup game. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Sharks coach Joey Mongalo ahead of a Currie Cup game. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Jun 14, 2023


Cape Town — Head coach Joey Mongalo's presence on and off the field has been a breath of fresh air for the Sharks squad and they just feed off it in the Currie Cup.

As the side prepares for a home semi-final on Saturday in Durban (kick-off 5.30pm), captain Reniel Hugo has heaped praise on their coach for what he has instilled in the team.

On their way to the semis, the Sharks won seven matches in a row in the competition, but after making a string of changes they lost heavily to Western Province in the final round-robin match.

Mongalo, though, took that blame on himself although the Sharks players simply did not pitch up to take the fight to Province. A win would've secured a home final should they make it through the semis, but the Durban-based side are not too worried about it because they have one job that they want to focus on — beating the Pumas at King's Park to keep their title hopes alive.

"He wanted us to be desperate men throughout this whole season," Hugo said about Mongalo's message at the start of the competition.

"He said this season is going to be like a 16-round boxing fight. In week one we will have the first round, all the way through to round 14. And if we perform in those 14 rounds, it's going to give us another chance to fight in round 15. That is exactly what we did.

"We are just living the 'desperate men' culture out here. In our team, it is not about what you can bring, but how you can serve the guy next to you. So we are just trying to be obedient to each other and I think that is what makes us a good team.

"We are a team that cares for each other and wants the best for each other."

And although Mongalo was only recently appointed, the players quickly took a liking to him, and according to Hugo that has played a big role in how the season went.

The impact that Mongalo has made also did not go unnoticed in the boardroom of the Sharks with the former Bulls coach being appointed as assistant coach to John Plumtree, who will take the reins in the United Rugby Championship this coming season.

"A lot of us met him this season, but something that stood out from day one is that he is a really good guy both on and off the field, someone with unbelievable values. He is a Christian, living his dream. He brought us all together, and from the start, he gave the plan and set the values for the team.

"We both are very competitive people and don't like to lose. We speak often, and our vision for the team is aligned. We know how we want to play and how we want to win games,“ Hugo said.


IOL Sport

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