Durban - Lock Lubabalo "Giant" Mtyanda wants to prove his worth when he makes his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks this weekend.
Mtyanda was the surprise selection in the Sharks team picked to tackle the Lions at Kings Park on Saturday. After his loan move to the Durban side from the Pumas, he has quickly settled in, making a notable impression among Springboks and international players.
On Saturday he will get his opportunity to compete at Super Rugby level, which has been one of his main goals in recent years.
"I'm still very surprised. I was very overwhelmed when I first heard that I was in the starting line-up. All of this is happening very quickly," Mtyanda told MyPlayers.co.za.
"I've been training with the team since January, and I've been giving it my all. Now I want to make the most of my chance this weekend.
"I don't just want to prove my worth at Super Rugby level. I want to make a notable impact and a big contribution to the team. If I can do that against the Lions, I'll give the coaches reason to pick me in the other Super Rugby games this season.
"I just need to remain focused and go out there, do my best and enjoy the occasion."
Mtyanda also credited the Sharks players for welcoming him into the squad.
"The guys have been great. As a team, we spend a lot of time together, and they have done a lot to make me feel part of the squad. There's a great family environment at the Sharks, and that has helped me to fit in quite quickly."
Mtyanda will be partnered with Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who showed great form during the opening round of Super Rugby last weekend. It was his first official game since recovering from serious injury.
Mtyanda is looking forward to playing alongside the 22-year-old.
"He's a very hard worker, on and off the field. I admire that a lot," said Mtyanda. "He's very talented. I'm looking forward to partnering him in the lock combination, and I'm sure we will do well together against the Lions."
Saturday’s clash at Kings Park kicks off at 19:10.
15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel, 20. Jean Deysel, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Andre Esterhuizen
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7.Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Schalk van der Merwe, 18. Julian Redelinghuys, 19. JP du Preez, 20. Ruaan Lerm, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Harold Vorster
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