Pieter-Steph ready for former employers

    2016-03-09 10:04

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - A Stormers v Sharks derby is always a massive affair, but this Saturday's clash at Newlands is likely to mean even more to Pieter-Steph du Toit.

    That the highly-rated Springbok lock is playing alongside Eben Etzebeth in one of the most revered second row pairings in world rugby will hurt Sharks supporters who saw Du Toit fight a seemingly never-ending battle against injury since arriving at Kings Park in 2012. 

    Thankfully, those days appear to be over now, but there is the overwhelming feeling that the Sharks never got the most out of Du Toit. 

    Now commanding the lineouts at Newlands, Du Toit is ready to take on his former employers this weekend. 

    According to Etzebeth, his lock partner will be up for this one.

    "I think any player who plays against his old team wants to prove a point … wants to prove to his new team that he really wants to be here and wants to prove to his old team that they made a mistake by letting him go," Etzebeth said.

    "Knowing the person that Pieter-Steph is I certainly think he’ll do that and have a very good game."

    Etzebeth has been in lethal form himself so far this season, with his ball-carrying and work at the breakdown particularly noticeable. 

    "Pieter-Steph takes control of the lineouts and I think with the new system we have here, it works quite well," said Etzebeth.

    "That’s why maybe I look like a new tactician … but I just try to be the player I was and keep improving.

    "Russell Winter (forwards coach) has been working hard with us on contesting (the breakdown). It’s an effort from all of the forwards … Nizaam (Carr) and Schalk (Burger) play big roles."

    Turning his attention to the Sharks this weekend, Etzebeth would not single out any individuals in their pack.

    "We’re not focused on the individuals in their team ... we like to focus on ourselves and what we can do as a pack. We’re not going to pinpoint any one of them," he said.

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.

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