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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Joey Mongalo details lessons learnt from lows of Sharks’ URC campaign

'I always say when you’re going through a difficult time, remind yourself of your Identity and your Purpose.'

After some tough times, the Sharks are looking forward to making their first appearance in the final of the Challenge Cup next week Friday when they take on Gloucester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Challenge Cup has been the Sharks’ silver lining this season, and their marketing department during their journey to the final have run a campaign around the team being on a road to redemption.

The redemption part is because of the dismal season the side from Durban have had in the United Rugby Championship, the Sharks losing 10 of their opening 11 games in the competition. 

The coaching staff led by John Plumtree were under pressure as the team were not looking like a cohesive unit on the field with various aspects of their game not performing. However, they have since turned the page, picking up six wins in all competitions since March.

Identity and Purpose

The period they were at their lowest brought a form of character-building for the Sharks’ coaching staff as many of them were not used to losing games.

Defence coach, Joey Mongalo, reflected on how the lows from this season helped to shape him.

“I always say when you’re going through a difficult time, remind yourself of your IP and by IP, your Identity and your Purpose,” Mongalo said.

“So, when you’re going through what you’re going through, a great place to go to is to remind yourself who you are, what you have done, where do you come from, and what do you stand for.

“And then your purpose is, why am I doing this, why am I coaching rugby and what’s the end result, where am I going with this? So that was on that level,” he said.

‘Coaching staff was together’

Mongalo hailed how the coaching group managed to pull together in one direction during that testing period and remind themselves of their identity.

“For myself and the other coaches, we had to dig deep and remind ourselves who we are and why we do what we do,” Mongalo said.

“I learnt plenty about how we need each other as a coaching group. We have healthy egos, everyone has got an ego. Healthy egos are people who have good opinions about what they believe in coaching but are also willing to learn from each other and grow together and help the team progress,” he said.

Before focusing on the Challenge Cup final though, the Sharks will take on Cardiff on Saturday in a URC clash at King’s Park Stadium (kick-off 6.15pm).

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