Stick does not regret change
Mzwandile Stick (Gallo Images)
Port Elizabeth – Former Springbok sevens captain Mzwandile Stick is not disappointed that he has swopped the code for 15-man rugby.
Stick, 26, has been a virtual certainty in the national Sevens squad since 2004.
By the end of last year he and another Eastern Cape Sevens Bok, Mpho Mbiyozo, decided to focus on “normal” rugby again.
Mbiyozo is still recovering from a shoulder injury, but Stick has already had a little playing time at the Eastern Province Kings.
He will be on the EP substitutes bench on Friday when they play a Currie Cup First Division match against the Griffons at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“It does not bother me that I will start off the substitutes bench,” said Stick.
“To tell the truth, it’s a big adaptation to go from Sevens to 15-man rugby.”
Stick has only played 29 matches since starting senior provincial rugby in 2003.
“As a decision-maker I have to adapt in a number of ways. It will probably be easier for Mpho as a flanker,” said Stick.
“You have to take risks in Sevens, but in 15-man rugby it’s a matter of safety first.”
He prefers to play flyhalf, but will play wherever the coach picks him. Stick can also play wing and fullback, though he may lack a bit of pace on the wing.
He is not disappointed about playing Sevens for such a long time.
“It was a fantastic time in my life and I learned to handle the pressure in big tournaments in big stadiums. One thing Sevens rugby teaches you is to communicate properly on the field.”
The EP team for the clash against the Griffons is unchanged.The EP team:
Tiger Mangweni, Norman Nelson, Wayne Stevens, De Wet Barry (captain), Justin Peach, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Donald Stevens, Darron Nell, Zolani Mofu, Jacques Potgieter, Rory Duncan, Lungelo Payi, Riaan Vermeulen, Bobby Dyer, Pumlani Nodikida.
Substitutes: Jaco Fourie, Sangoni Mxoli, Nolan Clark, Morné Hanekom, Gerrie Odendaal, Matthew Tayler-Smith, Mzwandile Stick.