Notshe to be given Stormers chance?
Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck will name his first Super Rugby team on Thursday, and there will be a few anxious players hoping that the work they have put in during pre-season has been enough to earn them a start.
One of those players is Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
The 22-year-old, very much on the fringes under coach Allister Coetzee, was quizzed on Monday about how he would slot in this season.
And, with Reynhardt Elstadt out injured, it appears that he will get a crack in the No 6 role this weekend.
According to Fleck, Notshe approached him at the start of the season asking if there was an opportunity to play at No 6.
"He wanted to develop his game," said Fleck.
"I made it very clear to him that this was not an easy way into the side, and he understands that."
But now with Elstadt out, the door could very well be opened for Notshe sooner than he thought.
"If coach Fleckie or the team needs me to pack down at 6, or 7 or 8 then I’ll do it," was the predictable response from a guy who is simply desperate to play Super Rugby.
"I’ve had Springboks ahead of me. I’ve had to bide my time at the union. It’s very important that you stick to the stuff that got you there … your fitness … and just playing rugby.
"You’ve got to squeeze in as much game time as you can so that when that call-up comes you’re ready to go. I think that’s what I’ve done and if my opportunity comes then I have to grab it with both hands."
Schalk Burger is obviously also an option at fetcher, but Fleck suggested that he would not play there.
"He’s played 6 most of his life and he’s prepared to play 6. But he’s also quite straight-forward in saying that to play 6 every week is going to be a challenge," Fleck said of Burger.
"He’s also developed his game and we all saw how successful he has been as a 7 and an 8 for the Springboks.
"I certainly feel that we can bring the best out of Schalk as a 7 or an 8, but that certainly doesn’t count him out as a 6 for us."
Fleck added that he felt the No 7 ball-carrying role was also Siya Kolisi's best position - further strengthening the possibility of Notshe being backed at No 6 on Saturday.
"Notsh is certainly going to suit the way we want to play in securing that quick, fast ball but getting into the dark spaces is his challenge now," said Fleck.
"It’s not an easy position to play but it’s also not just about hitting rucks and making tackles, it’s about linking and that’s what he’s particularly good at. The role of the 6 here in the future is more along that line.
"We know what he can play. He’s an excellent 8 … a great linking player. He can play 7 as well but there is an opportunity at 6 now within the union and we’ve had discussions between the two of us and he’s certainly keen to have a go there."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.