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Sikhumbuzo will keep his focus on the ‘small’ things

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“I am really excited about the Sharks and what they are doing. Very excited indeed because I am suited to the linking style of rugby they are playing.”

FOR much of his career, Sikhumbuzo Notshe has been maligned in some quarters for a lack of physical edge to his play but since joining the Sharks from the Stormers he has been outstanding on this front.

In fact, he has been the full package this Super Rugby season. He has done the hard graft in getting back to defend, has hit rucks with a vengeance and, of course, his attacking play has been top drawer.

After Sharks training yesterday ahead of their big derby with the Cape side, Notshe said he was pleased he had delivered in all aspects of No 8 play since moving to Durban late last year.

“The physical side of my game has improved over the years, I have been questioned for that aspect of my play but I think I have shown that side of my game is really good at the moment,” he said.

Notshe has flourished in the exciting brand of rugby the Sharks are playing and appears to have a new lease on life.

“I guess it has been an ideal career move,” he says. “I think it was perfect timing for me. At age 26, you don’t get a lot of these career moves these days, and I have managed to pay back (to the Sharks) by delivering the way I have.

“I am really excited about the Sharks and what they are doing. Very excited indeed because I am suited to the linking style of rugby they are playing.”

Notshe went straight to Western Province from matric at Wynberg Boys’ High, going on to play 68 Currie Cup games and 58 for the Stormers before his career hit a crossroads last year, and he made the bold move of relocating to Durban.

A “reunion” with his old mates from the Stormers was the first questioned asked him by the media yesterday.

“Of course I have given it a lot of thought and I know exactly how I will approach this one,” he smiled.

“I want to keep a very cool head. If you go into a game with a lot of emotions you are just going to drain yourself and you are not going to perform well. So I am going to try and keep the emotions out of it and focus on my teammates rather than my mates.

“Yes they are my mates – I created relationships in the Stormers camp, I’m not going to run away from that, but I have new mates at the Sharks and I need to focus on them.”

Notshe says that his intimate knowledge of the Stormers is not going to help the Sharks beat them. Rather, he says, there are areas of the Sharks’ own game that will do the business.

“To beat the Stormers, we have to do the small things right. Tight games like this one are about the small margins, not the big things like the effort stuff. I am talking about areas of the game that don’t require talent – like falling on the ball first, showing that urgency to get to the breakdowns and the tackle.

“It is the kind of thing that the crowd won’t see. Those things matter – the big things like the tries will come if we do the small things right first.”