Sikhumbuzo Notshe says getting stuck into the grunt work for the Sharks is helping him rediscover his form after a spell on the sidelines, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
The Springbok loose forward was sidelined for most of 2021 after a devastating injury required surgery to reattach a tendon in his knee cap. The 28-year-old is now back to full fitness and has toiled behind the scenes for the Sharks in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s clash with the Dragons in Durban, Notshe said: “The road to recovery was tough, but I’m fortunate to have had good rehabilitation and support at the Sharks. In terms of getting back to my best, I don’t think I’m there yet.”
Known more for his try-scoring breaks and speed, the ex-Stormers star has shown a willingness to knuckle down in the trenches this season.
“I know I’ve got X factor, but I’m trying to focus on things people don’t expect to see from me – going hard into tackles, setting up a good maul. I’m focused on doing the industrial work first, because I know my natural abilities but now I want to put myself in battles,” he said.
The Sharks lost 21-5 to Edinburgh at a drenched Kings Park on Saturday, ending a run of four successive wins for the Durbanites, as well as inflicting the first home loss for a South African team in 10 URC matches at home.
With clear skies forecast for Friday’s visit from the Dragons, Sean Everitt’s men must be eager to bounce back and replicate the Vodacom Bulls’ 55-20 mauling of the Scottish side at Loftus Versfeld.
Notshe, though, says conditions shouldn’t determine success or failure against European opponents at the Shark Tank, adding: “What I’ve learned in the URC is never to underestimate these sides, the Dragons put up a fight in Pretoria [against the Bulls].
“We must never let this weather thing be an excuse; we’re playing at home in front of our people, so we must always have energy. We don’t want to be a side who make excuses and are waiting for a sunny day in Durban to express ourselves.”