Notshe no slouch in Sevens

2018-01-11 06:00
Sikhumbuzo Notshe showed good intent in Dubai.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe showed good intent in Dubai.

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Not every rugby player that plays in the 15’s have the same impact in the 7’s but Sikhumbuzo Notshe, loose forward of the Stormers and Western Province, is one of those players.

He was drafted into the SA Academy Team for the first leg of the Dubai Sevens in December and played with the same enthusiasm as for the Stormers.

“Usually if you come from 15’s into the 7’s setup you expect that player to be out of his depth and battling to find his feet. This was not the case with Sikhumbuzo, he fitted in well with the team and our playing pattern. In the past you started off as a Sevens player and are then drafted into 15-man code but this is no longer the case,” said Siviwe Soyizwapi, captain of the Academy Team.

“The Academy side have won this title quite often in the past, so we are pretty keen to keep that record intact. Two seasons ago I also progressed into the Blitzboks squad from the Academy Team,” he said.

Before their departure for Dubai Siviwe said he was excited to be in the same team as guys like Sikhumbuzo, Selvyn Davids and Sako Makata.

“They knew what the top level is like and I must say that I was very impressed with their performances. Sikhumbuzo is trying out sevens for the first time, but he has adapted well. He has played at Vodacom Super Rugby level, has the respect of the rest of the players and has already contributed a lot off the field as well,” Siviwe said.

He stressed the fact that the road to the Blitzboks is determined by contributing to the Academy team first.

“Recognition from coach Neil Powell is wonderful, but the guys understand that they need to play well for the Academy team first. It is always about the team and if you are going to ignore that value, you are not going to make it into the Blitzboks anyway,” he said.

Sikhumbuzo was born in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape but grew up in Nyanga. He started his rugby career at Lagunya under the guidance of Norman Mbiko and Louis Mzomba.

“Sikhumbuzo represented Western Province at all levels from U.13 in 2006, U.16 in 2009 and U.18 in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 he was also part of the U.18 SA High Performance squad that played against France, Namibia and England and he joined the SA School side in 2011 against France,” said Mzomba.

He also represented Wynberg Boy’ High from 2010 till 2012. In 2013 he made his debut for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup against Boland Cavaliers in Ceres and played in all nine matches in the competition. He scored tries against the Pampas XV and the SWD Eagles.

In 2014 he was included in the Stormers pre-season training squad and scored against Boland Cavaliers in their trial match.

On 28 May 2016 (his birthday) he was included in the 31-man squad of the Springboks for three matches against Ireland.

He joined the SA A team for two matches against the England Saxon team and was named for the first match in Bloemfontein and scored three tries in the loss of 32-24.

Sikhumbuzo is currently training at the Stellenbosch Sports Academy with the Blitzboks in preparation for their next two matches on the HSBC Series in Hamilton in New Zealand and Sydney in Australia. The Blitzboks won the Dubai Sevens and ended third in the Cape Town Sevens.

As a member of the SA Academy team in Dubai they lost against the French side Esparanza 22 in their fifth consecutive final by 17-5. Esparanza 22 consisted of players from New Zealand, England and Wales.

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