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Ken Borland



Notshe’s exotic skills up against his role-model’s more direct talents 0

Posted on September 24, 2020 by Ken

The more exotic skills of Sikhumbuzo Notshe will be up against the more physical, direct talents of Duane Vermeulen in SuperFan Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, and the Sharks eighthman is looking forward to taking on a man he considers his role-model.

Notshe, born in King Williams Town, came through the youth ranks at Western Province and spent three seasons from 2013-2015 playing with Vermeulen at the Stormers before the Springbok hero left for France. The Bulls v Sharks match on Saturday is going to be a real clash of styles, and the personal battle at eighthman exemplifies that.

“You always want to play against the very best and I will approach Saturday as just another challenge. But when I joined the Stormers, I learnt so much from Duane in terms of jumping and mauling. I’m coming up against my role-model, he taught me the ropes in professional rugby, so I look forward to that. But the most important thing is to worry about my team first and not my individual performance,” Notshe said.

“We need to focus on our game-plan and on ourselves, we want to play the Sharks brand of rugby, with urgency and speed. We are a team that strives for performance and we don’t worry about results as much. If we perform well then we will get the result regardless. We just want to play to the best of our abilities and tick our boxes, and we’re excited about this weekend.”

New Sharks coach Sean Everitt’s approach has been less woes than predecessor Robert du Preez and his young team responded superbly, Notshe being one of several talents to bloom as they soared to the top of the overall Super Rugby table with six wins in seven matches before Covid-19 ended the season. The team culture has been outstanding, with Everitt focusing on transformation and diversity, and his ‘pets’ had built up tremendous momentum when their campaign was cruelly cut short in mid-March.

Will the Sharks be able to pick up that momentum on Saturday?

“We can’t promise that and obviously it was really frustrating to have the season end when it did. But we can’t stay in the past, it’s now a clean slate and all the other provinces have loaded up with some players, we are aware of that. We need to live in the present, it’s a fresh start because the last time we played was six months ago and we’ve also got some new players and lost a couple too.

“But we won’t change our identity as Sharks, it’s exciting that we can take the learnings from the seven rounds of Super Rugby we played and we have things to work on like working harder off the ball and polishing our basics, like catching and passing. We want to sharpen up our game and be urgent – if there’s a loose ball then a Sharks jersey must be on to it,” Notshe said.

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