Sikhumbuzo Notshe learnt a lot playing for the Blitzboks, says WP captain Chris van Zyl. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

From the townships to Wynberg Boys' High School, and eventually securing the honour to run out for the Springboks against Australia on Saturday.

Western Province coach John Dobson and captain Chris van Zyl were both elated to hear at a midday press conference today that Sikhumbuzo Notshe had been selected to start at No 8 for the Boks, Sport24 reported. 

Dobson especially had a reason to be proud because Notshe has come a long way under his mentorship, with the two having worked together prior to Notshe making his first-class debut for WP in 2013. 

"That's absolutely brilliant," an elated Dobson said. "What's changed dramatically with him in Super Rugby this year is his work rate on the field. 

"A lot of people have levelled against his physicality, but he's got so much intensity. I think he has matured a lot. 

"I couldn't be happier, because he puts so much effort in and he's such a good guy."

Van Zyl believes Notshe's brief stint with the Blitzboks had helped him evolve into a better player.

"At the breakdown especially, I think he's become next level. He could always return kicks-offs with interest and run, but I think his work-rate off the ball has been exceptional." 

Dobson then told the story of how Notshe ended up at Western Provinof his rise ce.

Having come from Nyanga township, Notshe was given a scholarship at Wynberg Boys High School after being spotted by a scout at the Under-13 Craven Week.

"He came from a very modest background... beyond modest," Dobson said.

"For him to be playing No 8 for the Springboks ... it's unbelievable. It's a wonderful story."

Van Zyl said Dobson deserved a lot of the credit for where Notshe is today.

"I can speak on Dobbo's behalf. He has invested a lot of time and energy into Notshe and they've got a great relationship," Van Zyl said. "I know that Notshe looks up to Dobbo a lot."

Teams for Port  Elizabeth

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio. Substitutes: 16 Folau Faingaa, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Rob Simmons, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Jack Maddocks