Sharks front-rower Thomas du Toit says he is loving the challenge of playing at tighthead prop, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Although Du Toit has predominantly featured at loosehead since leaving school, the 20-year-old has begun the process of making the move back to the other side of the scrum.
The youngster admitted the transition remained a work in progress, but emphasised that he felt it was still worthwhile.
‘I prefer playing at tighthead at the moment. I think loosehead was always a nice position to play, but because tighthead is offering a new challenge, I’m loving it. I feel you’re never going to stop learning, and although when I started out here [at the Sharks] I was playing at loosehead, there was lots I still had to learn. I started the process, and improved slowly, and now it’s the same sort of thing. I want to become the best possible tighthead, but it’s going to take time.’
Last week, Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold explained that they believed it was a worthwhile transition for Du Toit, having embraced the move after consultation with Junior Boks coach Dawie Theron and Bok scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.
‘I appreciate being afforded the time to play at tighthead with the Sharks. I want to make a success of the position, but I need to complete the hard work, and I’ll do everything in my power to be the best,’ Du Toit commented. ‘I also worked closely with Pieter [de Villiers] when he was here with the Springboks, I did some video sessions with him and he’s helped me a lot with the scrummaging, he was a world-class tighthead. So that’s helped a lot.’
At 1.87m tall and 130kg, Du Toit said he felt his physique was well suited to tighthead prop.
‘I’m quite tall, so that gives me leverage, and I’m quite heavy as well, so that meets the criteria of playing at tighthead. I played there at school, and I’m still young, so I have time on my side to learn my craft. I know how difficult it is to play at tighthead, but that’s what I’m striving for. [Bok prop] Jannie [du Plessis] is someone I’ve always looked up to, I think he’s the best tighthead around and that’s what I aspire to be.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images