Vincent Tshituka of the Lions during the 2020 Lions Training Session at the Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg on the 17 September 2020 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Vincent Tshituka of the Lions during the 2020 Lions Training Session at the Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg on the 17 September 2020 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Vincent Tshituka: Of pizza pie, the hunger to win, and feasting on success

By Morgan Bolton Time of article published Dec 17, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Hawaiian pizza lovers unite — you have a new voice of support to call upon in your fight against the killjoys who despise your preferred topping: Vincent Tshituka.

“I genuinely enjoy it,“ said the Xerox Lions flank of his favourite Italian pie. ”I have never understood why people don’t. It has always been a thing for me. I usually get two pizzas and one will always have pineapple on it.“

It is clear the 22-year-old knows what he is fighting for on and off the field then.

After a brief setback earlier this year where he went under the knife due to an ankle injury, the former Northcliff High School star is rising once again. Tshituka was named Man of the Match this past weekend in the Lions’ crucial 39-22 victory over the Free State Cheetahs and while all-and-sundry were quite chuffed with his recognition, the Democratic Republic of Congo-born rookie believes he has yet to tap into his full potential this season.

“It was unfortunate that we had a couple of disruptions to the team,” Tshituka explained, referring to the matches cancelled due to Covid-19 during Super Rugby Unlocked.

"For me, I was just trying to build on my momentum and trying to find that sweet spot in my game. It is not that I have completely found it but I am definitely on my way there.“

And that can only be good for his team. Before the pandemic interrupted the season — and even previous to that — Tshituka was on the lips as a possible Springbok. As such he played part in the Springboks showdown in October, and now with constant game time under his belt, is finding that form once more. On Saturday he will have to put in a massive shift again to help undermine a buoyant Sharks team that has just come off an impressive victory over the Blue Bulls.

With that in mind, Tshituka believes the team still has some areas to refine before they meet the Durbanites at Emirates Airline Park (kick-off, 7pm).

“I think,” he mused, "that first and foremost, as a team, we've gained a lot of confidence from that Cheetahs game.

"We are becoming a lot more fluid in the things that we do. As a team we still have to be a lot more clinical in terms of taking our opportunities because we create so many. It is beautiful and amazing to see. It is exciting for us ... As well as some soft moments at times, moments were we switch off, we can just give an 80 minute performance of being continuously on top of the game.“

Tshituka, who is currently in the process of becoming a South African citizen, is also aware that another massive forwards battle awaits him and his teammates. He takes comfort, though, in the fact that the Lions are themselves a dangerous unit with a point always to prove.

Said the flank: “As a pack we take pride in our dominance because we give the backline the platform to do what they do best, so if we don't control our set-piece, if we don't control our side of the game, we handicap them.

“That was the big focus this past week: That we control our controllables and we take care of what we have to do as a pack.“

The Lions currently occupy fourth spot in the standings, and victory over the Sharks will propel them quite possibly into second, not that that is the goal for Tshituka and Co.

“Quite honestly,” he explained, “our goals as a team is more than the top four — our goal is to win every game because we feel like that is what we are capable of ...

We feel that we definitely have the depth in our squad and the capabilities to do so ... there is no other way about it,” he concluded.

Vincent Tshituka's form is on the rise again. This weekend, if selected, he will be able to pronounce himself even further with a sold display against the Sharks. | Backpagepix

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