Sanele Nohamba’s transition from scrumhalf to flyhalf has brought about a change in the Lions fortunes, with the wily playmaker at the centre of their success.
The Lions began their season with three narrow losses in a row to the Stormers, Edinburgh and Benetton before a last-gasp try against the Scarlets sparked a turning point.
Despite a stumble against Ulster, the men from Johannesburg have since recorded resounding victories against Zebre (61-19) and the Dragons (49-24).
Nohamba, a product of Alice in the Eastern Cape, has steered the ship from flyhalf, directing traffic but also building up his resume as a quality goal-kicker, slotting 55 points in seven games.
In a recent interview with Rugby365, the 24-year-old was asked whether his Springbok aspirations are to play at scrumhalf or flyhalf.
“For me, it doesn’t matter,” said the former Junior Springboks halfback. “Growing up in a rugby-loving family, you fall in love with the game early and hope to represent your country.
“So if it happens, I will be chuffed. It doesn’t matter if it is scrumhalf or flyhalf. Just getting the privilege to represent your country, it is second to none in my dreams, so it doesn’t matter.”
While his goal-kicking prowess came as a surprise to many, Nohamba revealed that he is used to the pressures that come with the kicking tee, having been inspired by a former French international to start putting the ball between the poles.
“I was a goal-kicker and a scrumhalf growing up,” he said. “I looked up to a guy like French scrumhalf Morgan Parra. He was one guy I did watch and he was a scrumhalf who also kicked at poles.
“That’s what changed me in that direction.”
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images