Notshe's chance to give teacher Duane a rugby lesson
SPOTLIGHT: Duane Vermeulen could have a battle on his hands trying to keep the Springbok No.8 jersey away from his ‘apprentice’, Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
Notshe, who joined the Sharks ahead of the 2020 season, was by far the best No.8 in the country during Super Rugby before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the tournament back in March.
The 27-year-old dazzled in open play for the Durban side and he could have been part of Jacques Nienaber’s Bok team for the July Test window.
Now that rugby is finally returning in South Africa, after a six-month absence, Notshe, like so many others, will want to pick up things where he left off in terms of performance and it starts in the ‘SuperFan Saturday’ match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
With Vermeulen, the incumbent Bok No.8, back in Pretoria and playing for the Bulls, Notshe could have the chance to show his worth against a former a teammate and someone he learned the trade from.
“You want to play against the best and it’s going to be another challenge that I will be faced with,” said Notshe.
“When I joined the Stormers, Duane was the guy I learned from. To go up against your role model, who taught you the ropes when you joined the professional setup, is something I am looking forward to.
“But the most important thing is to worry about my team and making sure that our system performs and not just worrying about my performances.”
Story continues below…
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) September 22, 2020
Notshe knows that the Bulls will be a different beast under Jake White.
“They got some big ball carriers and they got some good slick backs and youngsters that are coming through.
“They are a quality outfit and they got some experience as well in those backs like a guy like Gio Aplon who is back.
“They will probably play a well-balanced game. They will maul at times, they got a good kicking game and a good running game and we just need to stop whatever comes our way,” he added.
The Sharks were sitting on top of overall Super Rugby standings before the season got stopped and for many, they are the team to beat when South Africa’s Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup campaigns start.
“You don’t want to stay in the past – we played in March and this is a clean slate now,” said the Sharks No.8
“All of the provinces have loaded some players and we are aware of that, but we can’t live in the past, we got to live in the present.
“It is a clean slate for everyone, even for myself. We just got to focus on our game plan and make sure that we nail our roles and make sure that we try to play the Sharks brand. which is playing with urgency and speed.”
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) September 17, 2020