“We Know We Are Getting Better And There Is More In Us” – Joey Mongalo


In comparing his team’s bonus point victory over the log leaders with the previous week’s performance against the Pumas, Cell C Sharks Currie Cup coach Joey Mongalo announced himself very pleased with the team’s performance.

While the Cell C Sharks defeated the Airlink Pumas the previous week, it was not in the manner planned. This victory over Toyota Free State was much more satisfying for the way it was achieved.

“I’m very happy with the win, particularly because we played well for two halves,” the Cell C Sharks coach admitted after his team’s 35-23 victory at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Friday evening.

“There were ebbs and flows, a typically nuggety type of game with moments where we did really well and other moments where we had to claw our way back.

“Free State is always going to challenge you in the maul and with the ball in hand and I thought we dealt with both those threats really well which is very satisfying.”

Weather conditions meant that not only was it important that a kicking game be employed, but also executed clinically and accurately to ensure that his team was able to put pressure on their opponents.

“That’s where the credit must go to the kickers for managing that and playing the territory game,” Mongalo said. “The conditions weren’t easy so we have to say congratulations to those guys for the way they led the team in that aspect.”

One of the players entrusted with the kicking duties was Lionel Cronje who delivered a man-of-the-match performance and Mongalo felt the praise was well-deserved.

“We put a lot of pressure on Lionel internally, he drives our game and it’s good for him to get public recognition for all the work he puts in. He’s a true professional, a guy who leads on and off the field, both with words and actions as well as preparation, so he deserves every bit of credit he receives.

“We are thankful that our general is leading us well.”

With five victories on the trot, the way the team is playing, putting in match-winning performances and bonding so well, is evident that they are on the right track as they grow and grow.

“This is an exciting journey and the beauty of it is that we are probably nowhere near the finished product which is great. Every Monday we come together knowing that there is more in us and we hope that continues for at least the next three weeks and for whatever holds after that.

“It’s a growth mindset, we know we are getting better and there is more in us which excites us.”

The Cell C Sharks’ next challenge takes place in Welkom where the Griffons lie in wait. With just one win in their campaign this year, they will look to start closing out the tournament with some effective performances and a rousing welcome will meet the Durban side on Friday afternoon.

However, taking the focus off themselves is not something Mongalo plans to do. Constant improvement is key and that’s where their ambitions lie.

“The big thing for this week coming is that we don’t worry about who is in front of us but that we focus on how to get better. On how does this team put longer periods of good play together, on how this team defends with more grit and avoids giving away easy tries. On how this team builds more phases and when they get into the opposition 22, score more.

“We really are going to make it about ourselves and fight to play in a way that is an improvement on the previous week and that makes people proud of us, and makes us proud.”