DURBAN - One would imagine that the last thing Thomas du Toit would like to discuss is his retreat at Ellis Park in the set scrums in the first round of Super Rugby.
But the 136kg "Tank Engine", as he has become known in Durban, is not bothered in the slightest by the criticism he received after the Sharks were smashed in the set scrums in that game, thus paving the way for the Lions to win.
It went much better for him in the set scrums in the Sharks’ draw against the Waratahs in Durban, and then a shoulder niggle caused him to have a break last week against the Sunwolves.
But the big question is: How did he psychologically recover from that setback against the Lions?
“I told myself not to focus on one day that went badly, and not put myself down too much on what went wrong in my transition to a new position and one the Lions targeted heavily,” Du Toit said.
“They were coming for me and they have a very good set scrum. They most definitely targeted me and they could do that because they had a very good set scrum. ”
Du Toit said that he was calm about the move away from loosehead because tighthead is the position he has always wanted to play.
“I actually wanted to play tighthead a long time ago,” Du Toit said. “I did it two years going into SA Under-20, but at the Sharks we needed more players at loosehead than tighthead, but now I have switched and it is the last change I am going to make. This is it. I am not changing positions ever again.
“So much has been said about the scrumming in that opening match between the Lions and the Sharks. The Lions have a very good scrum. I am not saying I am not a tighthead after one performance of going backwards.
"You need time in the saddle to adjust to a new position in the front row. I am really confident that I will progress in the position. I am more excited to play tighthead than I am scared of it.”
Du Toit said that after his rest last week that he is raring to go against the Brumbies on Saturday.
“We have seen that they have an excellent set piece and that their game plan is to go hard at us up front because they want to attack as much as possible out wide,” Du Toit said.
“But we are expecting them to attack us up front and forewarned is forearmed.”