Cape Town - Thomas du Toit is continuing his transition from loosehead to tighthead prop at the Sharks as he hopes to be the franchise’s long term replacement for Jannie du Plessis.
Du Toit, 20, has started two of his side’s four matches this Currie Cup season in the number three jersey.
“I prefer playing tighthead at the moment,” Du Toit said this week as the Sharks prepare for their clash against the Pumas in Durban on Saturday.
“You’re never going to stop learning. In the beginning when I came here I started learning loosehead and I was not very good. I started the process and then became a regularly good loosehead and that is the thought process behind this … I want to become the best tighthead as well but it’s going to take time.”
Du Toit also played at tighthead in the recent World Rugby Under-20 Championships for the Baby Boks, and he acknowledged that Du Plessis had been an inspiration to him throughout his career.
“Jannie has played tighthead for as long as I can remember. When I started out playing rugby I played tighthead so that was my biggest motivation,” he said.
“I still believe that he is still the best tighthead around the park.
“That (replacing Du Plessis) is also a big thing for me for the future. I want to be the best tighthead at the Sharks … obviously that is any person’s dream.
“The thing is I need to get there first … to do the hard work. If I am not the best then I will accept it that I’m not starting, but I am going to do everything in my power to be the best.”
Why the move to tighthead? Du Toit believes it has a lot to do with his physique.
“I’m quite a tall guy and that gives me leverage and I’m quite heavy as well. That’s actually meeting the criteria of playing at tighthead,” he said.
“That was the big reason for me moving to tighthead and because I played there at school I thought ‘let’s give it a chance’. I’m still young, I can still find my place to be in so I thought that tighthead might be the position and I’m actually learning that I think it is.
“I think to write on your CV it is a big plus.
“I don’t think it’s the best option to play both sides because it is different on your neck and on your body so it is difficult.
“But it is a challenge nonetheless that I love. I’m feeling good on loosehead and okay on tighthead as well. With time and with experience I want to manage and then perfect both sides.”