AUDIO: From a quick-step to a sidestep
LISTEN as the Lions’ rookie flank Vincent Tshikaya Tshituka speaks about his first steps in Super Rugby.
The 20-year-old has made just two Super Rugby appearances – his debut was off the bench in the 12-30 loss to the Bulls in week three and his first start was in the 47-39 win over the Jaguares last week.
It was at Ellis Park where the former Northcliff High scholar made pundits sit up and take notice – 53 metres in seven carries, two defenders beaten, one clean break, eight tackles and even contributing in the line-outs.
However, unlike the rugged rugby image he now presents, Tshituka revealed that he was schooled in the finer art of ballroom dancing.
“I used to do quite a lot of dancing,” the 195-centimetre, 103-kilogramme brawny youngster said.
“In primary school, I did ballroom dancing,” he said, adding: “Then when I got to high school I did a lot of hip hop with a bunch of my friends.
“As I started focusing a little bit more on my rugby – in grade 10, 11 and grade 12 – I stopped dancing. Now it’s more casual.”
Now the loose forward thoroughly enjoys the rugged side of rugby and readily admits he wants to be known for his strong defence.
“My big focus is workrate,” the young up-and-coming star said.
“I want to be a force on defence, I want to be a massive force on defence as well.”
He said he wants to improve his “workrate” and “get around the park” as much as he can.
“I think more than anything, I want my trademark to be my ability to defend.
“That is what I take most pride in. I hate missing tackles. That for me is my trademark.”
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Having started out on the wing, with limited success at school, Tshituka has moved to the back row in the pack and then to the second row.
However, he now seems to have settled to loose forward, although he is happy to continue making second row appearances.
“I want to be an all-rounder,” he said, adding: “I want to be able to tick all the boxes when it comes to flank or four lock.
“I want to tick all the boxes when it comes to doing my job on the field.”
Tshituka said that he was “honoured” to make his Super Rugby debut for the Lions last Saturday.
“For me, it was an absolute blessing. The opportunity to run onto the field. Starting a Super Rugby game for me I would never have guessed it would happen so quickly.
“I just wanted to give it everything and I have to make my coach, my fans and myself proud,” said Tshituka.
Tshituka started playing rugby for Northcliff high school in grade eight and revealed that it was not all plain sailing for him – starting off as a wing and constantly switching positions throughout his school career.
“I started off as a wing in grade eight. I moved to flank in grade nine and I played a bit of flank and then in grade 10 I played lock for the first team.
“I wasn’t the greatest wing. I only managed to score one try in my grade eight season.
“I played A, B and C teams. I had a bad game, then I would get dropped. Then I had a great game in the C team, played a good game in the B team and then I played a bit in the A team,” recalled Tshituka.
Tshituka added that he has only settled down at flank now after playing lock for the Lions academy side.
“I played lock for the academy Lions side as well, so I’ve been a lock. Last year  I reverted back to flank for the past two years,” said Tshituka.
The Lions play the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby round five match in Johannesburg on Saturday and Tshituka promised that if he scores a try he will bring out the dancing moves.
“Maybe one day when I manage to score a try I will give a bit of something [dancing],” commented Tshituka.
By Josh Isaacson