Cronje hailed as a 'true professional' after win over Cheetahs
REACTION: Sharks coach Joey Mongalo was full of praise for Lionel Cronje after the pivot delivered a man-of-the-match performance against the Cheetahs in Round 11 of the Currie Cup.
Mongalo’s side clinched their fifth consecutive win when they beat the Bloemfontein side 35-23 on Friday.
The bonus-point victory sees the KwaZulu-Natalians moving up to second in the standings – although they now boast the same number of log points as the first-placed side.
The Cheetahs remain at the top of the pile thanks to their superior points difference. Their inability to salvage so much as a losing bonus point from the defeat to the Sharks may prove costly at a later stage.
Cronje contributed 15 points with his accurate boot and his tactical play was good on a soggy surface at Kings Park.
“That’s where 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.”
Mongalo added: “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.’
The Sharks have won five matches on the trot in the Currie Cup, but Mongalo can feel the energy in the camp.
“This is an exciting journey and the beauty of it is that we are probably nowhere near the finished product which is great,” said the coach.
“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.”