DURBAN - Western Province loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe has been promoted to the SA Sevens side for this weekend’s World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in New Zealand and he is only too aware that a stellar performance in Hamilton will promote his Super Rugby stocks at the Stormers.
Notshe is due to return to the Cape franchise for the premier southern hemisphere tournament that begins on February 17. He is one of three new names on the Springbok Sevens team sheet for the fifth round World Sevens tournament that kicks off in Hamilton on Saturday.
The others are Zain Davids, who made his Springbok Sevens debut in last year’s New Zealand tournament in Wellington, and Muller du Plessis, who will be the back-up player for the tournament.
Notshe joined the Sevens programme in October last year, was selected for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side that played in Dubai in December, and got his BlitzBoks call-up for the Australasian leg of the Sevens Series.
The former Wynberg Boys’ High pupil made his Blitzboks debut in Sydney last weekend when he replaced the injured Ruhan Nel, and is now keen to make the most of his remaining time with the squad here in Hamilton.
“There are a couple of areas where I feel that I have improved in the last couple of months - my skills have benefited, as has my work rate,” said Notshe.
“My one-on-one skills on defence and beating players on attack certainly benefited as well, as did my work at the breakdown - the guys spend a lot of time working on that area, on attack and defence.”
While Notshe admits that the 15-man code remains his chief goal, he has loved every minute of his time with the Blitzboks.
“There is a Commonwealth Games and a World Cup Sevens this year, but the biggest thing that will draw me back to Sevens is the people that I have worked with. There is a good culture going in this squad.”
“Just having a light chat with the headmaster.” 🙏🏽🇿🇦🏉 pic.twitter.com/BE1Z2sPzHu
Davids, who was a member of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad that won the Sudamericarugby7s tournaments in Uruguay and Chile in January, feels the attention to detail that is a focus of the system has improved him as a player.
“They look at the small things, for example the weak shoulder tackle, and how to improve on that or how to exploit that on attack,” said Davids. “It is the high intensity of the training sessions that pushes you to the limits.”