Stormers flank Ernst van Rhyn says he feels ‘privileged’ to be learning his trade under Pieter-Steph du Toit but is looking to offer the Springbok star some competition.
There was still no clarity over when Du Toit would be returning to action during the Stormers online media briefing on Monday afternoon.
The 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year has been out of action since March after picking up an injury that nearly cost him his leg.
With Du Toit ruled out, former Junior Springbok captain Van Rhyn has stepped up and started at blindside flank during the Stormers’ win over the Lions this past weekend.
The 23-year-old, who like Du Toit can also play at lock, has come through the Western Province ranks and is looking to make a rare consistent run in the Stormers starting lineup count.
‘It is a massive privilege to be in his company and to be at the same union that Pieter-Steph is,’ Van Rhyn said. ‘He was player of the year. I have had so many interactions with him. Not just me, but all the young guys here at the Stormers.
‘I am trying to do everything I can from my side to make the team better. I am trying to make sure that I give healthy competition. It is a big privilege and I am enjoying the game time.’
The Stormers next travel to Mpumalanga to face a Pumas side that will have their tails up after their surprise win over Griquas in heated conditions in Kimberley.
This will offer them a chance to put their error-filled performance against the Lions to bed as they will be looking for a massive improvement, particularly in their lineouts.
‘Obviously, this [past] weekend wasn’t very pretty and there is a lot that we can improve on,’ Van Rhyn said. ‘The guys showed great character to fight towards the end of the game.
‘We are looking forward to Friday. The Pumas had a really good week this past weekend against Griquas.
‘As a pack, we want to stick to our standards. We want to improve from this past weekend and have to prepare well. But we are looking forward to the trip to Nelspruit and hopefully we can put in a good performance.’