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Masuku has become 'that guy' for the Sharks

SPOTLIGHT: Sharks flyhalf Siya Masuku is one of the toughest flyhalves in South Africa and currently finds himself in an ecosystem at the Sharks where his talent can grow.


This is the opinion of Sharks defence coach Joey Mongalo, who also worked with Masuku during his time at the Lions between 2016/17.

The 27-year-old Masuku has gone from strength to strength since joining the Durbanites towards the end of 2023. It was a homecoming of sorts, after all, he was born in KwaZulu-Natal in the small town of Paulpietersburg.

A search on social media quickly indicates similar sentiments on the recent form of the Sharks flyhalf. He is being called ‘that guy’ for the Sharks, people asking why it took the Durbanites so long to ‘recognise Siya Masuku’s value as a flyhalf’ and ‘Not enough is being said about Siya Masuku.’

Siyabonga Praisegod Masuku is described as a hugely exciting game-breaker with a highly educated boot, as his long-range, match-winning penalty for the Cheetahs against Pau in the Challenge Cup in 2023 illustrated.

He had a man of the match performance in the Sharks’ conquering of Edinburgh in the quarterfinal of the Challenge Cup over the weekend, scoring all of 18 points as the home side fought back to clinch victory.

We sat down with Mongalo to find out what has happened behind the scenes that has helped Masuku find his feet in Durban and on the rugby field.


“He was always a talented player. Former Lions coach Swys de Bruin, a man who can spot raw talent, picked him in the Currie Cup as a 21-year-old when he was a junior at the Lions,” Mongalo remembers.

“All that has happened here at the Sharks is that Neil Powell, the Director of Rugby, really backed him from the start and wanted him to get an opportunity.”

The coach, who also holds a Masters degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, says two things help to nurture and develop talent.

“I think for any talented person, two things are important. The first is the environment they find themselves in. If they know they are being backed and supported, it brings out the very best in them.


“Siya is at a place where he can look around a room and know that everyone wants him to do well and succeed.

“He also sees that the other No. 10’s, vying for the same position, also still back him and challenge him.

“He is a guy that has settled in nicely in Durban, settled within the team setup, and is settled in how we want to play,” Mongalo explains.

“The second part of what is important is support. He feels supported that the union and the team are behind him.

“I think that is why he is excelling here at the Sharks. He is in an ecosystem where his talent can grow.

“He is also, in my mind, one of the toughest flyhalves in the country, he is very tough,” Mongalo says.

The 27-year-old playmaker has been the flyhalf of choice for the Sharks in their last six matches consecutively.


Earlier in the year Powell told News24: “Masuku is somebody that we obviously saw last year when he was still playing for the Cheetahs.

“We saw the attributes that he had that we liked, and I think he’s an all-around good flyhalf that does everything well.

“He defends well, he can take the ball to the line if he wants to, he distributes the ball well and then there’s his kicking game.

“I think he is good in his decision-making as to when to sit a little bit deeper and when to attack the line.”

The Sharks face Clermont in the Challenge Cup semifinal at Twickenham on May 4.


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