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Ken Borland

Phepsi delivering on a weekly basis; Teichmann rates the 8th man

Posted on May 19, 2022 by Ken

Eighthman Phepsi Buthelezi is just 22 years old and has been playing in the shadow of Sikhumbuzo Notshe, but with the Springbok missing much of the season due to long-term injury, the youngster has been delivering quality performances on an almost weekly basis for the Sharks.

“I feel really good about my game, I’m really happy,” Buthelezi said on Tuesday. “It’s awesome for me that Sikhumbuzo is now back and I have to give credit to the whole squad because it’s easy to play well when the whole team is performing.

“So credit to our game-drivers and I’m really grateful to have such experienced Springboks with us. I feel very fortunate to be in a place where I’ve got a few games under my belt now.

“I’m now used to how things are done at this level, thanks to Sikhumbuzo’s injury. I am a student of the game and I will continue to be one, but I have taken a lot of confidence from my exposure in the No.8 jersey.

“Every time I pull that on, I just want to give it my all and I aim to deliver every game,” Buthelezi said.

But what has Buthelezi done to earn all those starts and to overtake Notshe, who has cutting-edge skills of his own?

Former Natal Sharks and Springboks eighthman Gary Teichmann spoke to The Citizen about Buthelezi’s strengths –

Who he is

“I had a bit to do with Phepsi as a person when I was at the Sharks as CEO, and he is very well-rounded and grounded for someone so young. He also has leadership ability and his style of leadership is very good. He is really committed to the Sharks, he came straight out of school and into the system, and he really pushes the team culture.”

What he brings on the field

“As a player, I initially thought he was more of a flank, but the way he has performed at eighthman has been wonderful. He’s really come through in leaps and bounds.

“His work-rate cannot be questioned, he’s dynamic, with pace and explosiveness, which always helps. And there’s nothing wrong with his ball-skills.

“This year he has really come into his own due to Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s wretched luck with injury. Phepsi has been really impressive and he certainly has a bright future,” Teichmann said.

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