South African Rugby pro Tera Mtembu, spoke to Planet Sport about his Super Rugby career with the Sharks, his love for Liverpool FC and what the future holds for him in the game.
Tera speaking on:
What he expects from 2018 . ."Firstly, I am focused on what God wants for me. Every professional athlete goes through ups and downs but what God wants for me is what I am going to achieve. I will take and control what I can control which is keeping my faith strong."
Representing South Africa. . . "They are memories that I will never forget, I remember playing my first taste of senior rugby and it was definitely a highlight of my career so far. It's something that you can't really explain and I appreciate it more now that I did back then. It was a surreal experience and I'm really grateful."
His drive to still play international rugby. . ."Yes it definitely is, in the situation that I am in now, not many people are giving me a chance which is fine. Since I was young I've always tried to overcome adversity, and ever since I've had the Lord in my life somehow I have proven people wrong. It definitely still is the ultimate but if it doesn't happen then it's not the end of the world. I will never stop working hard and believing."
Adapting from rugby Sevens to Fifteens. . ."It's easier playing sevens and then transitioning to fifteens than the other way round. For me it came at the perfect time, when you go to sevens you sharpen up, you have to be accurate in sevens with your passing and you get drilled. It triggered my rugby to where I am now."
His love for Liverpool football club. . . "Back in 2008 a friend of mine used to talk about Liverpool all the time! The game where they beat AC Milan in the Champions league final, he talked about that game for the whole year. So I started to watch soccer and ended up supporting Liverpool."
Why his Christian faith so important. . . "Because I've had so many miracles in my life. I made a conscious decision to start reading the bible in 2008. I was fortunate to play first team rugby at school for four years, the first two years I played but was pretty average. So at the end of 2007 I needed change in my life, I had been working hard but just wasn't growing. So in January 2008 I just decided to open a bible to just be there with God and hear what he had to say. I started praying each and every day and it's amazing how my life turned, on and off the field. Ever since then, I've had the Lord close to my heart. I've achieved things that I would never have imagined just because of my faith. It's been a tough road but I will just follow His lead and do what He wants me to do."
How that faith changes how he sees sport. . ."I am going on the field and he takes over my body, he is driving the steering wheel. I don't set myself personal goals anymore, I just pray to the Lord and thank Him for the opportunity to do what I love on the stage that I'm on."
Being himself, in the rugby culture. . ."As you get older it does get easier, when you are coming in as a youngster it's tough because you get stuck into a bubble. Once you are in that bubble, you can get stuck and forget your values and identity. I also got stuck in that bubble for a while and so I had to look at myself in the mirror, to find my feet. My faith has just grown stronger but it's what you make of it. Rugby shouldn't define you as a person."