Shane Gates have been around the block a bit with people starting to realising him this year as he has been exceptional for the Southern Kings in their return to Super Rugby. Benedict Chanakira had a chat with the man….
BC – Who is Shane Gates?
SG – I am relaxed fella, a joker, a team man, I play a lot of PlayStation, appreciate food, friends, loved ones and watch a couple of movies.
BC – You have started the season quite well. You are one of the form players in Super Rugby and that offload in the Hurricanes game was sublime? Do you have more of those in your arsenal?
SG – Thank you very much it’s been really enjoyable so far and I think people don’t give Louis Fouche enough credit for that catch and support line otherwise that would never have been an option. *laughter* I’d really like to think I have some more skills somewhere.
BC – You have been part of the Kings set up for quite a while and you have the talent to have been able to play for other Unions. Why stay?
SG – I’ve been here since I left Muir College in 2010 and just thought that it would give me the best chance to play Super Rugby and get the best exposure at a high level. My family is here so it’s been really good being able to count on their support.
BC – You are in the set-up, players have come and go. The external forces (media, some negative fans, situation in the Union) are just looking to take the team, morale down. What has kept you going amidst all the problems off the field?
SG – It really hasn’t been easy and I hope it all gets sorted out soon but I have been lucky enough to keep the thought of playing in this tournament as motivation and that should be enough for any other player.
BC – What impact has Deon Davids had on the side?
SG – I think he has been awesome for morale and very sympathetic to what our situation was in the early stages. He has brought a good intensity to our training. It also helps a lot that he is always looking for ways to improve the individual, the team and himself.
BC – Some media outlets and fans have spoken about you in the same breathe as a Springbok. Now it is a dream for many a South African player to don the green & gold colours. Is it in your thinking? Does such talk add pressure on you?
SG – I think it’s still very early in the season to be thinking about that because there is still a long way to go for us. Yes, it is definitely a dream of mine to play for my country but like I said it’s still really early to be thinking about things like these and I will just try to take it one game at a time with the team.
BC – How helpful has the SARU Mobi-unit been to the development and growth of this Kings side?
SG – It’s been great for me and everyone in our side to learn from these sort of coaches and its definitely reflecting in our play. We are grateful to SARU for letting us learn from these guys.
BC – What is the dressing room like? Who is the hardest worker? Who is the clown of the side? Who is the calm head? Who has the worst dress sense and who is the smooth talker in the squad?
SG – *chuckles* The team is pretty well balanced. I would say JC Astle is one of those silent workers on the field that nobody notices. He is running on diesel at the moment and pretty bummed about the prices going up. There are plenty of clowns but I think Martin Ferreira would take that cake, apart from looking like Alan from hangover he is hilarious and awesome for a team to have. Dress code? *laughter* I am not going to name and shame the guys.
BC – When you beat the Sunwolves this weekend, the game was a tight one. When did you feel the game was finally won & what moment do you think defined this game best?
SG – To be honest I never felt comfortable with any sort of lead. I don’t think you can be in Super Rugby. Things can change so quickly so I guess it’s about playing for 80 minutes as best as you can and that will always give you a chance to win games.
It was a great feeling winning our first game of the year and hopefully it builds a bit of momentum for us.
BC – Tell us something many people do not know about you?
SG – I’ve seen Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings far too much.
BC – Talk is your backs coach Mzwandile Stick is likely to be coaching the Springbok backs. For someone who has managed to work with him these last few weeks, what have you learnt from him and what type of coach is he?
SG – I’ve actually been lucky enough to play alongside him and work with him for the last few years at the Kings. He is the kind of coach that gives you the freedom to express yourself and always tries to instil self-belief and hard work into his players. I don’t know too much about the rumours but it’s been good learning from him.