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Double duty all in a day’s work for Tera

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 May 2014 at 11:41
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Asked to play the “Swiss Army knife” role for the Sharks last weekend, loose forward Tera Mtembu found himself covering a lot of ground indeed against the Crusaders, at one point being the only loose forward on the field for the visitors. We caught up with the likable Dalian for a chat earlier today.

“Luckily, if you remember we also got two cards against Saracens in the first half, so I was the only loose forward then too and had a bit of a chance to get used to it!” Tera quips. “Obviously I had to work a lot harder than I was supposed to – it was tough but it was a good experience and I enjoyed it.”

Despite being primarily a number 8, Mtembu has been picked more regularly in the number 6 jersey by Sharks coach Jake White this season. “For me, at the moment, I’ll play wherever I’m needed, ” he tells us. “I have a preferred position, but if I’m needed at open side, blind side, number 8 or even lock – I’ll do anything to stay in the team.”

And does he think that his heroics against the Crusaders were enough to make that opens ide position his for another week? “I don’t know hey – we’ll see what happens! Whether I get two minutes or 80 minutes, I’ll play to the best of my abilities.”

Looking ahead to Friday’s challenge in North Harbour, Tera tells us “The Blues are a different team – they are dangerous, they can beat anyone on a given day. We’ll have to kick well, defend well and take our opportunities. If we don’t play well and slip tackles, they will punish us from unstructured play. We need to be organised this week – we’re preparing well and looking forward to it.”

“It’s been a long four weeks, ” he says, looking back on the tour as a whole, “I remember my first tour last year – we only won our last game. This time it’s a bit different, having won two games out of three so far, so I’m enjoying it a bit more. I’m looking forward to coming home, but it’s also good to get away from Durbs a bit, get to know the players and bond with guys that I’ve never chilled with before.”

One such player is room mate Tim Swiel, for whom Tera has nothing but praise. “Timmy did very well for us on the weekend. He had a bit of a shaky start and was really looking forward to putting in good performance for us – the fact that it came in a place like Christchurch, where we’ve never won before and he was so calm and so good under pressure just made it better. He was great.”

Tera tells us that it was in fact cricket, nor rugby, that first captured his heart. “Since I was about 10 I wanted to become a professional cricketer and that lasted until I was in grade 11 and I played at the Kearsney tournament and was offered a spot at the Sharks Academy. It’s pretty tough to get a professional contract as a cricketer, though.

“I’ve lost it a little bit – ” he concedes. “When we played the Dolphins, I was bowling off a five-pace run up, rather than 20 like I used to! ”

We’d like to thank Tera for his time and wish him and the team all the best for the game on Friday. A big thanks to the Sharks, as always, for arranging the interview.


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