Johannesburg - Soon-to-be Sharks player Vincent Tshituka has won out fierce competition to be named South Africa’s United Rugby Championship (URC) player of the month for April, it was revealed in a statement on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old, who this week signed a three-year deal leaving the Lions for the KwaZulu-Natal based side, has had an excellent 2022 in the tournament for the Lions, and this honour is just reward which acknowledges his current form.
Tshituka has been the recipient of several Man of the Match awards this year, including in the Lions’ last outing in the URC against Benetton and has helped the Lions add respectability to their season with some stellar performances.
Powerful in attack and unyielding in defence, Tshituka was described by the statement as being “the definition of consistency”; and “outstanding in all aspects of loose forward play.”
There is no doubt that Tshituka had to fight off some impressive candidates for the honour this month, including the Bulls’ Ruan Nortjie and Marcell Coetzee; the Stormers’ Evan Roos; and the Sharks’ Aphelele Fassi and Ox Nche - to name but a few.
Due to his brilliant form, the calls to include Tshituka in the Springbok setup have only intensified in recent months. Currently, the DRC-born Tshituka is ineligible for national selection but it is believed that he will receive his citizenship soon, which will open the door for his donning the Green and Gold.
It should come as no surprise that Tshituka has many advocates, including former Springbok legend Tendai Mtwaarira.
The Beast said of him last week, while speaking exclusively to Independent Media, “A guy that has actually impressed me from another team is (Tshituka). I think he is a phenomenal rugby player and I hope he is able to get his citizenship and represent South Africa, because I think he is a Springbok in all but writing.”
The URC is currently taking a backseat in South Africa to the Currie Cup, but the nation's franchises will return on the weekend of May 20 when the competition completes its final rounds of the regular season.
It will be on that Friday that the Sharks face Ulster in Belfast, while the Bulls travel to Swansea to take on Welsh outfit the Ospreys. On Saturday, the Lions will complete their season away to the Dragons, while Scarlets will host the Stormers.
The Bulls, Sharks and Stormers have already qualified for the play-offs of the URC, but their final round robin matches will decide who lifts the SA Shield, and who will host a possible home quarter-final.
The Lions, meanwhile, can only finish as high as 11th in the standings.