The New England Free Jacks signed Lubabalo ‘Tera’ Mtembuthrough the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 29-year-old No.8/flanker (30 in December) is 6’2″ and 245 lbs.
Tera was born in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He attended Dale College Boys’ High School in Kings Williams Town and was the 1st team rugby captain in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 he was the Craven Week 1st team selection and is listed at No.8 on the Border Craven Week Team of the Decade from 2004-2013.
Tera played youth rugby for the Border Bulldogs in 2008-2009 before moving to the Sharks in 2010-2011. In 2010 he was selected to the South Africa U20s team and played in four matches. He also played for the South Africa Sevens Team in 2010-2011 and played in the Commonwealth Games in Dehli, India in 2010.
His Senior rugby was played with the Sharks. He made 33 appearances for the Sharks XV between 2011-2018. He played for the Sharks Currie Cup team from 2011-2020, making 44 appearances and captaining the side in 2014 and 2019. He also played Super Rugby with the Sharks from 2012-2020, captaining the side in 2016 and 2017.
New England Free Jacks Comments
“I am grateful to the Free Jacks for giving me this awesome opportunity to join an exciting program and growing community,” commented the 6’2”, 245 lb Mtembu. “I am looking forward to the challenge, to learn new things, add value where I can, and most importantly, earn my teammates’ and the fans’ trust and respect.”
“A proven leader and key contributor at Super Rugby level, Tera will not only be a tremendous asset on the field but will display what it means to be a Free Jack and role model through his daily behaviors,” said Tom Kindley, Free Jacks Performance Manager. “With the ability to play across the back row, jump in the lineout and create havoc off the back of the scrum, Tera is a versatile, top quality player that we are thrilled to welcome to New England. We are thankful to the Sharks for one of their finest sons and are excited to see Tera impart his knowledge and leadership to players and staff within the organization and Junior Jacks academy development squads.”
Tera joins a robust group of New England loose forwards and his impressive on-field performance at the Sharks will make him an immediate and demonstrable force in the high-flying Major League Rugby competition. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Tera averaged a 95% tackle success rate. Strong carries and effective breakdown skills make Tera an excellent addition to an exciting, try-centric New England team full of power and pace.
In addition to his on-field commitments, Tera is passionate about helping develop rugby in New England. As his charity of choice, Tera will support the nascent Free Jacks Foundation in its mission to make a difference in the next generation of New England rugby players and instill the values familiar to the game. Tera will assist in the academy programs and work with players and coaches alike to grow the game of rugby in the region.
Join Tera and the Free Jacks for a virtual meet and greet, News and Brews, Thursday, August 13th at 8 p.m. ET. Grab a Free Jacks IPA and join the virtual gathering and get to know the newest Free Jack. RSVP using the link here: https://www.freejacks.com/news-and-brews/.