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    Esterhuizen: Step up to Boks was mentally tough

    2018-07-03 19:30

    Durban - Sharks No 12 Andre Esterhuizen is finally a Springbok, but he says that the step up from Super Rugby to Test rugby was tougher than he expected it to be. 

    The 24-year-old made his Test debut in South Africa's 22-20 loss to Wales in Washington where he was one of the only shining lights in a disappointing Bok display, while he also started the third and final Test against England in Cape Town. 

    Opportunities were limited that day as the Boks came unstuck in the rain, but despite being on the losing end in his only two Tests so far, Esterhuizen believes he has come back a better player. 

    "It's been a very exciting year and a good year for me," he told media in Durban on Tuesday ahead of the Sharks' crucial clash against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

    "I've been happy with my form lately and I was fortunate to get a call-up from the Boks.

    "I learnt a lot there that will help me at the Sharks and it was a privilege to play for the Springboks. All the guys that were there learnt a lot and everyone if going to bring it back and show here."

    On making the step up, Esterhuizen conceded it took some time for him to adjust. 

    "It's a bigger match than you've ever played before and the biggest step up for me was to get myself mentally right for it," he said.

    "It's a hard game and a lot different to Super Rugby."

    The Sharks are fighting for their lives in Super Rugby and they must secure wins against the Stormers and then the Jaguares to stand any chance of qualifying for the playoffs. 

    This weekend they face a Stormers side that has had one of their worst Super Rugby seasons ever, but Esterhuizen is still expecting a tough assignment.

    "It's their last game and they haven't had a great year ... they're going to throw everything at us and they've got nothing to lose. It's going to be big," he said.

    Kick-off in Saturday is at 17:15

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