Durban - Sharks loosehead prop Thomas du Toit hopes he can continue the impressive form he displayed during an amazing 2014 debut season.
In his first year after school, the Paarl Boys' old boy has already made a huge impression at the Sharks.
At just 19, he made his Super Rugby debut for the Durban franchise, coming off the bench in his first game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, before starting the team's final three fixtures, including the wildcard play-off against the Highlanders and semi-final against the Crusaders. He also made eight appearances in the Currie Cup, helping the Sharks reach the domestic semi-finals.
Du Toit got a taste of international rugby too as he starred for the Junior Springboks at the Junior World Championship in New Zealand, while he was a surprise pick for the Barbarians squad.
Du Toit, who stands at 1.87m and weighs 120kg, does well on attack and defence, and uses his big build to make a massive impact at the scrums.
The player hopes he can continue his progress in 2015.
"It was a definitely a dream debut season... everything worked out really well. It will actually be very hard to have a better season!" Du Toit told MyPlayers with a laugh.
"I'm working very hard to ensure I keep my good form. I want to do well for the Sharks this season, and play my part when needed. Losing two semi-finals did hurt as we believed we could go all the way. But we'll learn from our disappointments and aim to go all the way this year."
Du Toit has the benefit of having the Springbok front row of Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis as mentors in the Sharks squad. The youngster said he has learned so much.
"There are many Springboks and experienced players in the squad. I always have guys I can turn to for advice when needed, and that has helped my game a lot," said Du Toit.
"The biggest lesson I've learned is to focus on the main thing... which is playing the game on the field. Professional rugby comes with many distractions and sideshows, but one needs to be able not to let that influence your game. Just focus on the job at hand.
"My main goals for 2015 is doing well for the Sharks and playing another year for the Junior Springboks. My ultimate dream is playing for the Springboks."
Living in Durban has been an adjustment for Du Toit, who was born and bred on a farm in Koringberg near Paarl. After a year, he said he's enjoying life on the east coast.
"It used to get very hot in Paarl, but I must say, it's very humid in Durban!" quipped Du Toit. "But life is very good this side. I share a place with JC Astle and Etienne Oosthuizen, so I spend most of my time with them. The Sharks squad is one big family, so we all spend time with one another. I enjoy playing golf and having a good braai.
"I'm also studying agriculture part time through UNISA. This will help me prepare for life after rugby. I want to join the family farming business, where we work with cattle and wheat."
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