"We have acknowledged the errors we made in that game and have identified the areas we need to fix and build.”
The Sharks have secured a semifinal spot with a round in the competition to go They currently are sitting in second on the log behind Western Province, the only team to fell them this competition, but they maintain that the last game against Griquas on Saturday is a ‘must-win.
The men from Durban head to Kimberley to face a Griquas team knowing that there is not too much on the line in terms of advancing to the knockout stages, but they can still make their lives a lot easier in the play-offs by securing the victory and ensuring a home semifinal.
“Although we have nothing to lose, we have secured a top four place, but then again, we have everything to gain,” explains tighthead prop Thomas du Toit (pictured). “If we win this game, it sets us up nicely for the next one, and the one after that. We’re very excited for this weekend, but know it’s a must-win for us.”
The Sharks’ defeat to Province, now two weeks back, is also being taken in a positive light around the Sharks’ camp with Lwazi Mvovo calling it a blessing in disguise, and now Du Toit labelling it a wake up call for the squad.
“That defeat was a wake-up call, a very good one, because afterwards, we pulled in tighter as a team and the mood in the camp right now is actually very good. We have acknowledged the errors we made in that game and have identified the areas we need to fix and build.”
Du Toit has not been a permanent fixture in the Sharks’ Currie Cup squad, spending a lot of time with the Springboks as a useful tighthead option. The burley prop has made the transition from the loose side to the tight, and admits it has been a difficult, but rewarding, road.
“It’s been a rocky, up and down season for me, especially being scrummed heavily until finding my feet and getting opportunities to play in a position I really enjoy,” Du Toit said. “But I’m still learning and believe I need another two years or so to actually put down a marker as a tighthead in South Africa. That’s not going to be easy, but it’s something I strive towards.
“There was a shortage of tightheads in the country for a while, but now it feels like we’re overflowing. But that kind of competition brings out the best in all of us.”
Du Toit has picked up five caps for the Springboks this year – three against England, one against Wales in the USA, and one against Argentina. He joined the Sharks in 2014 and has amassed 52 Super Rugby caps and 37 Currie Cup caps.
He also spent a short time in Munster under the tutelage of current Bok coach, Rassie Erasmus.