Newly appointed Cell C Sharks captain Louis Schreuder believes that the team are in for a successful season and he speaks positively about the successful Currie Cup behind us and a promising Vodacom Super Rugby campaign that lies ahead.
He’s shown his value to the team, not only as a high quality scrumhalf, skilled in all the attributes needed in that position, but also as a leader. Captaining the side in 2019 is a natural progression after guiding the team to Currie Cup glory in 2018.
“It’s a massive honour and privilege for me to captain the side,” he explains. “I had a very enjoyable stint sharing the role with Chiliboy Ralepelle in the latter part of last year’s Currie Cup and now I look forward to sharing with Beast this year.
“I’m very excited about the challenge that lies ahead and obviously very excited to be named captain of this franchise.”
Obviously he’s had time to assess the past and set goals for the future, and while they may be lofty, they are achievable and certainly laudable.
“My personal aspirations as captain are all about the side,” he points out. “I want the team to do as well as we possibly can. I also want to lead by example and as best I can to take this union forward. We want to be successful, that’s our main aim.”
Although the responsibilities that come with captaincy can add pressure for a player, Schreuder believes that it will present no problems to his primary role as player.
“I don’t think it will cause any problems for me, I have been in leadership roles in the past so it’s something that comes naturally for me. I’m very comfortable in this role, I don’t think there is anything to worry about. We also have a good leadership group in the squad and plenty of experience to count on, guys like Beast and Chilly and Lwazi [Mvovo], they will help a lot.”
Given that this Cell C Sharks class of 2019 has plenty of playing continuity about it, this momentum bodes well for a team that can also call on the positive experience of winning last year’s Currie Cup competition for motivation.
“It is good for a young squad like ours, Lwazi and I were the oldest guys in the team, so we are a young squad and we are learning. But it’s important for a young team to taste success. Winning away from home was especially satisfying. We were the under dogs and it was a fairy-tale ending to the season.
“The guys have taken a lot of confidence from that and hopefully grown too. Now we look forward to taking that momentum into Super Rugby.”
Given the settled look about this side and past successes and near successes, he is adamant that the Cell C Sharks are due a great season.
“Definitely! Last year was a let-down for us, although we still want to make the play-offs, we don’t want our campaign to end in the quarter-finals. Playing the Crusaders away in the quarters last year was a tall order for our young side, but this year we want to go further, to see how far we can go.
“I believe we have the squad and team to do it.”
Last year at this time, the team was engaged – as always – in preseason training, but the direction they had taken was less off the ball conditioning and more fitness with ball in hand stuff. Schreuder admits that not much has changed.
“Our approach is the same as last year, that’s the brand of rugby we want to play. We want to play exciting rugby for the fans and the public and we’re working very hard.
“The weather here in Durban doesn’t make it any easier, but we are focussed on getting as fit as possible to be ready for the season when it kicks off.”