Sharks' Nche excited to be back in Super Rugby
Sithembiso Dindi - The Witness
Durban - Having had a short stint in Super Rugby before, new Sharks prop Ox Nche has unfinished business with the southern hemisphere competition and is determined to complete it at the Durban-based franchise.
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The 24-year-old Nche is one of the eight new players signed by the Sharks for this year's Super Rugby, while the ninth signing, Werner Kok, will only arrive just before the Currie Cup.
Nche has been brought in from the Cheetahs as a replacement for veteran prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira, who has left South Africa for the United States after helping the Springboks win the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Bloemfontein-born lad comes to Durban with 25 Super Rugby caps as he made his debut in 2016 at the Cheetahs, but his joy of playing in the competition was cut short when they dropped from the tournament.
Though he moved to playing PRO14 with his boyhood franchise, his heart has always been set on playing Super Rugby.
"I'm actually excited to be back in Super Rugby," Nche said on Wednesday.
But the prop, who has a single Bok cap, will come back an even better player having used the PRO14 to learn and grow, and that bodes well for the Sharks, who are desperate to do well this season after losing a host of seniors.
"I played Super Rugby when I was a junior, coming up through the ranks and I think I've learnt a lot from the PRO14 side in terms of the set-piece and what I need to improve on," said the prop.
“I'm pretty excited to be playing Super Rugby again because it is a southern hemisphere kind of rugby and the rugby that I enjoy," he said.
Nche has already got a chance to run in a Sharks jersey during the friendly match against Russia last week, which the Durbanites won by a comfortable 64-14 at Kings Park. "I'm enjoying the rugby side of things, very excited with the facilities. Everything has been okay for me, the only downside is the weather. I'm still not used to the humidity of Durban," he said.
The Sharks host Russia again on Friday at Kings Park at 17:00 before travelling to Super Hero Sunday to jostle the Stormers at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg at 13:00 on Sunday.
They kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Bulls at Kings Park on Friday, January 31 at '19:10.
Sharks XV to face Russia:
15 Thaakir Abrahams, 14 Mtungwa Mapantsela, 13 DJ Falconer, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Ayanda Kunene, 10 Jordan Chait, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Celimpilo Gumede, 6 Evan Roos, 5 Jordan Sesink-Clee, 4 Lunga Ncube, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Cullen van der Merwe, 17 Bandisa Ndlovu, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Jandre Labuschagne, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Kwanda Dimaza, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Jaden Hendrikse, 24 Le Roux Malan, 25 Rynhardt Jonker, 26 Lwandile Menze