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Am a popular choice

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“The players cheered the roof (off) when Lukhanyo was announced”

There was a resounding ovation from the Sharks players when Sean Everitt announced that Lukhanyo Am would lead the team in 2020, the ideal confirmation for the coach that he had made the right choice.

Everitt has worked with Am since he arrived at the Sharks as an unassuming youngster from the Eastern Cape and has watched him grow steadily over the last four years into one of the best outside centres in the world.

Everitt has also had a prime position to see this man of few words grow in stature among his teammates, and Everitt also has known that some of the best Sharks captains of the professional era have spoken only when necessary, chosen their words carefully and at all times led by example on and off the field. Gary Teichmann and Wayne Fyvie spring to mind

“The players cheered the roof (off) when Lukhanyo was announced,” Everitt said at a press conference yesterday at Jonsson Kings Park. “He is a very popular choice indeed.

“Lukanyo and I go back a long way to his first days at the Sharks when we promptly loaned him to the Kings to get some Super Rugby experience and he came back and slotted in and has grown each season to the point that he was an automatic choice for me a quiet guy who is popular among his mates.

“He is not a loud, outspoken leader but in his own quiet way he gets people to follow him, so we have given him the captaincy reins and it was certainly well received among the players.”

Everitt also announced a support team for Am that includes Curwin Bosch, a youngster that the coach recognises as a future captain. Bosch, although just 22, is into his fourth year of playing for the Sharks and I have certainly seen him grow immeasurably as a player and person.

“Curwin has definitely grown as a leader,” Everitt said. “The team always looks at the No 10s for leadership and he has responded. He is an outspoken person in team meetings, and rightfully so because of his job on the field, so we feel we can develop him further and hopefully one day he could take over the reins from Lukhanyo.”