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Sharks challenge excites Wentzel

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 18:33
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Kings Park is, by far, the best stadium to play in
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Springbok lock Marco Wentzel says he is honoured to join the Sharks and excited about the next chapter of his decorated career in Durban.  

Wentzel recently joined the Sharks from English club Wasps ahead of the forthcoming Currie Cup campaign, with the 34-year-old set to bring a wealth of experience to the pack.  

Wentzel returned to South Africa in February after six seasons of Premiership rugby with Leicester Tigers, Leeds Carnegie and London Wasps, having made a total of 114 Premiership appearances.

He also played for Italian club Treviso abroad, while on South African soil he played Super Rugby for the Bulls and Cats, represented the Cheetahs and Boland in the Currie Cup and played for the Southern Kings against the British and Irish Lions after starting his career at the SWD Eagles.

The veteran, who played two Tests for the Springboks in 2002, was put on standby by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer for South Africa’s end-of-year tour last season following injuries to Andries Bekker and Ulster captain Johann Muller and is excited to join the Sharks as they enter a new era.

“Since starting here, I've seen a really talented group of young players. The Sharks have such a proud tradition that it's an honour for me to come here,” Wentzel told the Sharks website.

“Durban is a lovely town, the weather is amazing - I've had enough of cold winters. The talent here is really exciting, going forward, I think it's going to be good.”

Having played at some of the most iconic venues in world rugby, Wentzel said he is relishing playing at his favourite ground.    

“I've always personally felt that Kings Park is, by far, the best stadium to play in, in the world. Millenium Stadium is amazing but this is by far the best, the crowd is really on top of you and that creates a real buzz,” he said.

He said of his relationship with Springbok mentor Meyer: “Heyneke Meyer coached me in my second year I was with Leicester although my strong ties to him start at SWD where he gave me my first contract. He also coached me when I spent time with the Bulls as well as at Treviso.”

The journeyman said of his vast experience: “Every club I've played for has offered something different, and left me with different memories. Italy brings back good memories, playing for Treviso, a strong and very successful club and the lifestyle there was amazing.

“Leicester was also very successful as a club in the Premiership and European Cup, with a culture very similar to that at the Bulls. I also enjoyed playing for Free State because they played a very expansive style of rugby. I've been very blessed.”

Explaining what he felt was vital for any team to be successful, Wentzel said: “Having a good squad is the most important thing. It's changed a lot over the last few years, 15 good players aren't enough anymore, there is just so much rugby that squad depth is vital. Successful teams have the depth in players.

“The second thing is that rugby is a team sport so it's important that everyone is on the same page and everyone embraces a shared vision. Thirdly, I believe a bit of luck comes into play. This is not a round ball and it bounces differently.”

Wentzel added that one his greatest rugby related memories was meeting former South African president Nelson Mandela.

“We got to meet him [Mandela] on the Springbok tour in 2002, we met him at his place, and I am extremely grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity. He's an international icon, known worldwide, and it was just amazing to have met him.”

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