Lukhanyo Am thrilled to pass knowledge on to young guns


Sharks skipper and Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am said he has relished his leadership role as the captain of the Gold squad that will compete in the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday.

The match will be part trial and part training exercise, and it is apparent that all involved have approached this as an opportunity for growth and development.

Siya Kolisi and Am will lead sides featuring a few Rugby World Cup-winners and young players who have come through SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development system and the Junior Springboks.

Young players injecting energy and enthusiasm – Lukhanyo Am

Am commended the energy the young players had brought to the training sessions, and he has spoken glowingly of his centre partner, 21-year-old Rikus Pretorius. The Rugby World Cup winner is also looking forward to testing himself against 22-year-old Lions centre Wandisile Simelane.

“The prospect of playing with new players such as Rikus (Pretorius) really excites me.

“Like all youngsters, they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm whenever they come into a new environment. Playing opposite Wandisile (Simelane) will also be interesting as he is an exciting player.

“For the young guys in our squad, it means a lot to be able to rub shoulders with more experienced Springboks and to have the opportunity to absorb what is happening in this environment.

“As Springboks we have enjoyed sharing our knowledge with them, and hopefully they can go back to their franchises as better players,” Am added.

A surreal Newlands appearance

The match might be among the last high-profile rugby games played at Newlands before WP Rugby makes its move to the Cape Town Stadium.

Am says that Newlands is one of his favourite grounds but expects the experience of playing in front of empty stands to lend the afternoon a surreal tint.

Am admitted that running out in the national team colours in front of an empty stadium would be strange, but he said what happens between the four lines is all that counts.

“Playing in Cape Town is one of my favourite venues and but unfortunately we can’t play in front of a crowd, which changes the dynamic of the environment,” said the Springbok Gold team skipper.

“Having said that, we know the playing surface here can get a bit greasy, but it will be the same for both sides and we will have to adjust and get on with the job.” 

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