Notshe's Blitzboks stint to aid Stormers

    2018-02-21 10:09

    Lloyd Burnard

    Cape Town - Sikhumbuzo Notshe is back in the Stormers mix after his stint with the Blitzboks, and he is in the running to feature against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

    A member of the Sevens Academy side that did duty in Dubai towards the end of 2017, Notshe broke into the Blitzboks squad on the Australasian leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney and Hamilton this year. 

    Notshe did not feature in this past Saturday's 28-20 win over the Jaguares at Newlands, and with Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi and Cobus Wiese all going well in that game, it is hard to see the 24-year-old breaking into the starting line-up for the Waratahs clash. 

    Stormers forwards coach Russell Winter spoke on Tuesday about the healthy state of the squad's loose forwards department, focusing on the fact that there were specialist players in each position. 

    Wiese, for example, gives the Capetonians a more traditional, ball-carrying option at No 7 while Kolisi at No 6 is playing towards the ball and looking to enforce turnovers. 

    Notshe, though, offers something different entirely. 

    He has always been known for his impressive ball skills, but Winter is expecting his conditioning to also be a major attribute after his time playing Sevens.

    "One thing we can be guaranteed of is that he'll be fit," Winter said.

    "We're eager to see what he can bring to the table now that he's back with the team.

    "We all know that Notshe brings a different element to his game."

    Winter hinted that there could be some rotation in the loose forwards in the coming weeks as the Stormers seek to find their best combinations, but Notshe's versatility across the back row makes him an attractive bench option. 

    "He's become a lot quicker and I would like to see how he can add that speed to the game," Winter added.

    "Then, at the same time, he'll be super conditioned. Sevens is a game where you can't miss a tackle and you can't not be fit.

    "He's a skilful player with some good feet and we know that's needed in the 15 man game as well."

    The one concern is that Notshe has missed the bulk of pre-season and has not played a 15-man game in some time. 

    "We have to give him a chance and see what he can bring," Winter said.

    Coach Robbie Fleck will announce his side for Sydney on Thursday, while the match will kick off at 10:30 (SA time).

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