Stormers and Western Province loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe will join the Blitzboks ahead of the upcoming 2017-18 World Rugby Seven Series, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
This will be Notshe’s first involvement in the sevens setup, and it will be interesting to see how he makes the transition from fifteens, with the Blitzboks set to begin their series title defence in Dubai at the beginning of December.
Notshe regularly demonstrated his speed and agility for both the Stormers and Western Province this year, and could be well-suited to a role in the sevens game.
The 24-year-old fits a similar mould to other dual-code players such as Warren Whiteley and Ryan Kankowski, and he should bolster the Blitzboks in terms of their forward physicality this season.
SA Rugby announced Notshe’s involvement with the Blitzboks on Monday, confirming he will be available for the first four tournaments of the 2017-18 season before returning to the Stormers for Super Rugby pre-season training.
‘It is pretty exciting to be able to join the World Series champions,’ said Notshe. ‘I am keen to learn from them as they are an experienced group. The guys were pretty excited to get back together again, and so am I – it is almost like the first day back at school for me. For me it will be all about learning from the old heads here.’
Coach Neil Powell says it is great to have Notshe in the Blitzboks squad.
‘He realises that a place in the squad is not guaranteed, but I am pleased to have a player of his abilities added to our squad.
‘We are continually looking at extending our depth and player base and he certainly has the athletic abilities to play for the Blitzboks. He will need to show that he deserves a spot in the squad, but the same applies for all the other guys.’
Other players who have rejoined the Blitzboks at their training base in Stellenbosch are Kwagga Smith, Tim Agaba and Stedman Gans.
Meanwhile, it’s believed that current Springbok Women’s Sevens head coach Renfred Dazel could join the Blitzboks’ coaching setup as an assistant, following the departure of the long-serving Allan Temple-Jones.
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