Cobus Wiese: “I remember being shocked in the Co-op when the girl behind the counter called me ‘love’!”

After almost four years at Sale, Wiese will be heading back home at the conclusion of this term
©Sale Sharks

Clapping erupted around the entire Salford Community Stadium as Cobus Wiese walked off the pitch in an emotional farewell.

In the South African’s final home game in front of the Sale Sharks faithful, he had exhausted himself to earn a precious win against Leicester Tigers.

As the 26-year-old collapsed into a tackle bag at the side of the pitch unable to make it to the bench, he started to reminisce about the club which has a special place in his heart.

“I’m getting goosebumps just now thinking about it,” Wiese tells TRU, reflecting on that moment from almost three weeks ago.

“I am incredibly grateful for the people I’ve met here, the boys I played with, and the reception we get from the fans. 

“Even last year at the final, the reception the boys got there and the amount of people that were supporting this club was incredible to see, and that just shows that even though we are from the north and rugby union isn’t as big a thing as it is down south, you can still have an impact on people as you see the AJ Bell [Salford Community Stadium] being packed out.

“We [Wiese and his family] have started to call Manchester our home, so it is a bit bittersweet getting that special reception as we prepare to go back to be with our families.”

Following the conclusion of this season, Cobus and his wife, Rike-Mari, will be continuing their lives back in their native South Africa due to a desire to be closer to their loved ones.

But Manchester will live fondly in Wiese’s memories.

“The thing that stood out most to me was the people in Manchester and the relationships with the people,” he says.

“I still remember being shocked when I was in Co-op and the girl behind the counter called me love.

“The people we have met and being part of this culture was the thing that stood out most to me, and it will be something I miss back home.”

But before Wiese begins his next chapter with the Bulls, he is determined to create one more memory with the Sharks fans.

After perhaps upsetting the odds on the final day by winning away at Saracens to book their place in the top four, Sale are now preparing for their away play-off semi-final against Bath, something Wiese is relishing. 

“Every player wants to be involved in a game like this,” Wiese continues. “I feel like I’ve got some unturned stones that need to be taken care of, especially with me going back to South Africa soon.

“I’ve been massively driven to achieve something bigger than just reaching a final with this club. Knowing that we are only two games away from winning is a huge driving force.

“I was unable to play last year [v Leicester Tigers] as I was ruled out through injury, so I feel massively privileged to play in a Premiership semi-final.”

While Bath are favourites, there is a strong belief that Sale can grab a result as the Sharks look to stretch their five-game winning streak in the Premiership.

Their victory on the final day at Saracens - a place where they previously hadn’t won since 2005 - is a source of that optimism and Wiese hopes succeeding against the odds will spur Sale on again.

“Bath are a quality team with world-class players. Playing at their place and seeing us as underdogs puts all the pressure on them to not lose to us.

“Being a South African, we play with a lot of emotion, and you see these things, and you tend to take them a bit more personally than you probably have to, but that drives emotion, and that probably drives what we depict to be South African.”

While Wiese isn’t one for the limelight - preferring to work hard in the areas where many players won’t wish to go - he will be vital if Sale are to claim their first Premiership title since 2006.

Sharks lost 42-24 against Bath at The Recreation Ground back in March - their first defeat at the home of the Blue, Black and White since 2019 - and Wiese believes that solid record can continue on Saturday afternoon.

“I think the guys coming back from injury has given us massive confidence,” he explains. “Tom Curry [who is set for his first appearance on Saturday since the World Cup] is a world-class talent, so having boys like him back gives you confidence but it will be down to the guys that start the game to set the tone and for those boys to come on, not just to finish the job but to lift the intensity again.

“Underdogs or not, there is only one result we want.”

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