Notshe’s work at the Sharks is not going unnoticed
DURBAN – For the Sharks, each Super Rugby game is a unique entity that requires a specific focus and the Stormers on Saturday in Durban will be no different, according to attack coach David Williams.
“Each game is very individual and what we have done well this season is find a point of pressure to exploit in any given game to get a result,” Willims said.
“Maybe it could be sticking with the lineout drive as the main weapon; in another game it might be using the overhead kick; in another holding onto the ball; or perhaps kicking and defending aggressively to get the turnover. This game against the Stormers will be about finding the point of pressure early on based on what they have come to do against us, and then exploiting that.”
Against the Jaguares last week, the overhead kicks worked well for the Sharks thanks to the accuracy of kickers Louis Schreuder and Curwin Bosch, and the ferocity of chasers Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi and Madosh Tambwe.
“You can have a kicking plan but the execution of the kicks is massive,” Williams said. “A lot of work on the training field goes into those kicks. And the chase to win back the ball from those kicks is what made the difference.
The small margins in matches are actually huge, and we won those margins - our chasing guys are a real handful in the air, and you mustn’t forget the guys working around the catcher looking to tidy up the loose ball if we don’t get the catch - there is a lot of hard work off the ball that doesn’t always get noticed.”
A player who didn’t go unnoticed, once again, was No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who has been in the form of his life since joining the Sharks from the Stormers.
“He has been a fantastic recruit and a great guy to work with,” Williams said. “I have just finished a one-on-one with him. His diary is the neatest I have ever seen and his detail is phenomenal. In a team, each player has the base of working hard for the team and then as an individual has to find ways to have a big personal influence and Sikhumbuzo is doing both.
He is grafting hard on the unseen work, but then also creating those big moments for himself.” Looking at the Stormers, Williams says the loss of stars Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi would be felt but would hardly cripple their team.
“The DNA of a team pretty much stays the same. Your top players have a significant influence on the game model, but the Stormers have enough.”