Savannah Connacher

'The Sharks family welcomed me with open arms'

Winger YAW PENXE on dealing with the Kings' liquidation, playing in the Springbok Showdown and joining the Sharks.

How difficult was it for the players and staff when the Kings went into voluntary liquidation?
It was an incredibly difficult time and still is. Most of the boys are still unemployed, as well as the management and coaching staff. I really hope everyone finds jobs sooner rather than later. I'm in a better position than most because I got the opportunity to join the Sharks. But it's only on a short-term basis, so there's still that worry. 

Did the liquidation come as a shock?
I was a bit shocked but the signs were there that it was coming. In April, we were paid 10 days late and then in August we were told the Kings couldn't play in Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup for financial reasons. But they assured us they were going to pay our salaries – their exact words were: 'We'd rather not play in the tournaments and be able to pay salaries, than play and not be able to pay salaries.'

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How did you stay motivated?
I was extremely down and out for about a week or so. Luckily, I lived with three of the boys – we spoke about it, got over it and realised we had to fend for ourselves now. We said we'd make sure that if an opportunity arose that we would be fit and ready. We had to pick ourselves up and do the work.

How did you end up joining the Sharks?
I was lucky enough to be chosen to play in the Springbok Showdown. I was able to showcase my talent for another 80 minutes, which I was extremely happy about because I was basically jobless at the time. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and got the call from the Sharks. They were experiencing a lot of injuries at the time so they got me on board as cover. I am extremely grateful!

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How has it been with the Sharks so far?
It has been absolutely lovely. It felt like home as soon as I got here. I had played with a few of the boys and played against most of them, so I knew everybody already. The Sharks family welcomed me with open arms.

How has Durban been?
I was just saying to my mom that it's like a bigger Port Elizabeth. I'm really enjoying everything, except for the humidity – I swear I lose at least 2kg at training with this heat!