Cape Town — L ukhanyo Am is a man who prefers to let his actions on the field do the talking, but the decision to make him Sharks captain for the 2020 Super Rugby season was a popular one.
That is the view of Sharks head coach Sean Everitt, who says the decision to appoint Am as his first skipper was "automatic".
"Lukhanyo and I go back a long way from his first days at the Sharks," Everitt told media in Durban on Wednesday.
"For Lukhanyo and for me it was an automatic choice. He is a quiet guy who is popular amongst his mates. He is not a loud, outspoken leader but in his quiet way he gets people to follow him.
"We thought it would be good to give him that opportunity and it was definitely received very well amongst the players. They cheered the roof off when he was announced, so it was a very popular choice in the squad."
Am himself said he was honoured to be given the role, but he would not change much in his leadership.
"In our own positions, we're all leaders in a certain way, so I just took the responsibility of being a leader in the position I was in," he said.
"I don't want to change much. Obviously I'll learn on this journey, but I will stick to what I do which is trying to lead by example."
Am will receive assistance from the rest of the Sharks leadership group.
"Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder, himself no stranger to a leadership role, will assist with game management, while Andre Esterhuizen will provide defensive support, with another World Cup winner in Makazole Mapimpi managing our transition and Curwin Bosch assisting with our attack," the coach said.
"From a forward perspective, Thomas du Toit will assist with set-piece feedback.
"In the past the Sharks have been spoken about as a team with a lack in leadership, so the decision was taken to grow the leadership within the squad.
"It's very difficult for Lukhanyo to oversee everything on and off the field, so we as management felt he would need assistance in that regard."
The Sharks take on the Bulls in Durban on February 1 in their first Super Rugby assignment of 2020.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard