Sikhumbuzo Notshe feels honoured to have played himself back into Bok contention ahead of Saturday’s Springbok Showdown at Newlands.
Notshe’s rugby career has found a new lease of life since he swapped Cape Town for Durban, moving from the Stormers to the Sharks. The dynamic 26-year-old was the form No 8 in Super Rugby back in March, helping the Sharks to the top of the table before the season was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since making his Springbok debut against Wales in Washington DC in 2018, Notshe has played a total of six Tests, but a combination of injuries and poor form had him fall out of contention and ultimately miss out on a place in the 2019 World Cup squad.
‘To be selected for the Bok Showdown is another massive honour,’ Notshe said. ‘I can still remember the last time I was involved with the Boks was in 2018 – you know it’s not something you can take for granted and as I’ve learned, you never know when it will be your last time [in this environment].’
Up until his move to Durban, Notshe had played all his rugby in the Mother City and has been able to catch up with some of his former teammates during the week.
‘It was lovely to connect with my former [Stormers] teammates and there is always a lot of banter whenever we meet,’ he said. ‘Before the pandemic cut the season short, I was happy to get one over them, so there’s obviously a lot of banter there.’
Notshe will line up in a loose trio alongside former Stormers teammate – now with the Vodacom Bulls – Nizaam Carr as well as Bulls openside flank Marco van Staden.
‘Nemo [Carr] and I go a long way back and we have a similar style of playing,’ Notshe said. ‘On Saturday we will share the workload and in Marco we have someone who complements us both. We have to make sure we gel because we are coming up against a solid and experienced loose-forward combination.
‘The set-up is so professional, and the players are really enjoying each other’s company. Everyone is just looking to learn from the coaches, so when Saturday comes, we will be on top of our game as a team.
‘We will be looking to have excitement, good structure and enjoy ourselves out there because we haven’t played a lot of rugby.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images