Lubabalo (‘Tera’) Mtembu
Position: Loose Forward
Hometown: East London, South Africa
Lubabalo (‘Tera’) Mtembu will join the Free Jacks on a three year contract from the Sharks Super Rugby and Currie Cup teams, where he captained the Super Rugby side in 2016 and 2017 and led the 2014 and 2019 Currie Cup campaigns.
The move to the Free Jacks will be Mtembu’s first professional team change since joining the
Sharks out of High School. At 29, Mtembu has amassed 47 Super Rugby appearances and 45
Currie Cup caps.
Mtembu also appeared for the 2010 South African U20 team, representing his home nation in all
four test matches. Mtembu went on to play for the South African National Sevens side in 2010 and 2011 before making the move to the 15-a-side code with the Sharks.
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.
Education of a Free Jack:
Dale College, South Africa
Tera was born and raised in East London, a city on the southeast coast of South Africa, and lies on the Indian Ocean. His mom and dad reside in King Williams Town in East London. He has an older brother and a younger sister who are also in South Africa.
- Tera grew up as an avid cricket player and during Grades 1-3 he only participated in a summer sport…until the school found out he wasn’t playing a winter sport. He was thought to be “wrecking the system” of sports at school. He signed up for field hockey but the rugby coach at Dale Junior stepped in and forced him to go to rugby trials. He played his first-ever game for the A team, and well, you know what they say…the rest is history. Tera went on to play Provincial cricket all through high school as well.
- Tera is committed to giving back to the community he grew up in and developed the East London 10s, hosting its inaugural event in 2019 as the Founder and Director. EC10s is a sporting festival for rugby and netball hosted in the city during December. Over 20 rugby teams participated and on the day before the tournament, players hosted a rugby coaching clinic for young kids from across the city.
- You Will Never Walk Alone – Tera is an avid Liverpool FC supporter and his dream is to watch a match at Anfield.
- Tera has a passion for wildlife and rhino conservation in South Africa and enjoys spending time at Phinda Private Game Reserve. Over the years the Sharks rugby team has worked alongside rangers, anti-poaching units, vets and ecologists to save the rhino.
- 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.