Could Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu feature in Ireland Tests if Springboks opt for 6-2 or 7-1 split?

The Springboks’ Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu kicks a 55-metre penalty against Wales on international debut. Picture: Action Foto Sport / NurPhoto via AFP

The Springboks’ Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu kicks a 55-metre penalty against Wales on international debut. Picture: Action Foto Sport / NurPhoto via AFP

Published Jun 27, 2024


Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu is a confident young man. He doesn’t look like guy who is easily fazed, on the field and off it.

There is no greater example of this than in his Springboks debut against Wales when he asked captain Pieter-Steph du Toit for the ball to attempt an 55-metre penalty kick. The ball sailed through the poles to the delight of the coaching staff, as Feinberg-Mngomezulu announced himself on the international stage.

He showed that same maturity when facing the media in Pretoria on Wednesday after being included in the Springboks squad for the Test series against Ireland and the one-off Test against Portugal. He answered the questions with the same confidence as he did slotting that penalty.

But there was one moment on Tuesday when the Stormers starlet became emotional and took a few seconds to compose himself.

It was when he was asked about his late grandfather, the anti-Apartheid activist Barry Feinberg, who had died in 2023 after a long illness.

“My grandpa was at every rugby game, and he passed on the last year. He would have loved to see it [Springbok debut] ... it’s everything he fought for,” said Feinberg-Mngomezulu after a long pause.

Indeed, his grandfather would be proud of him after moving up the ranks at a rapid pace over the last couple of years because of his immense talent.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu is a ball player in every sense of the word, with a wonderful feeling for the game. He sees things on a rugby field that others don’t, and, with his tremendous kicking game, it’s scary to think that he has only just scratched the surface of his undoubted potential.

But the former Bishops star’s feet are firmly planted on the ground, knowing that he needs to learn and work hard if to cement his place in the Springboks side.

“Sponge mentality is me at the moment, I fully understand that I’m the new boy in the system at the moment and I’ve got a lot of work to do and to fix,” Feinberg-Mngomezulu said.

“With the people around me, slowly but surely I’m sure I’ll get that right. Watching Willie [le Roux] kick a ball [at training], watching Handre [Pollard] kick a ball, every sort of repetition you pick up something.

“It’s an environment with a lot of learning and invaluable experience, so I’m trying to soak up as much as possible.”

— Stuart McAvoy (@stuart__mcavoy) June 22, 2024

Feinberg-Mngomezulu could feature for the Springboks against the Irish next week at Loftus Versfeld, especially after the versatile Damian Willemse’s injury.

If the Springboks decide to go with just two backs on the bench in a 6-2 split or 7-1 split, Feinberg-Mngomezulu could get the nod ahead of a Manie Libbok or Handre Pollard — whoever doesn’t start at flyhalf — because he can play flyhalf, centre and fullback.

For now, though, Feinberg-Mngomezulu is just happy to be part of the group and is willing to play anywhere.

“I love just playing rugby, so 10, 12, 15 wherever it may be, I’m happy.

“But a lot of time at high school I spent working on my kicking and personally, I feel it’s come through solidly, so at flyhalf is probably one part I enjoy and trying to dictate the momentum of the game.

“It’s the pressure that you want, where your team looks to you for direction and game management, and that’s something I enjoy.

“But at the same time getting minutes on the park in any position is amazing; like I said I’ve had a few injuries so I’m the last guy to be determined to get to one position. Any time I can get minutes on the field I’ll take it and do what the boss says.”


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