- Sharks loosehead Ox Nche was feeling pretty bullish about his side’s pack of forwards, saying they were growing as a unit.
- The Sharks could have Springbok Thomas du Toit back for the visit of the Pumas.
- Nche’s front row partnership with Du Toit has piqued national selectors’ interest.
Sharks loosehead Ox Nche was feeling pretty bullish about his side’s pack of forwards, especially after Thomas du Toit’s imminent return, saying they were growing as a unit.
Nche, a capped Springbok, is on the national team radar and, when fit, works in concert with World Cup-winning tighthead Du Toit in the Sharks front row.
The Sharks front row was building towards the fearsome form they showed in Super Rugby earlier this year before Du Toit got injured in the loss to the Bulls.
A Covid-19 breakout amongst the tightheads also scuppered their charge at the Super Rugby Unlocked title last week when their game against the Stormers was cancelled. The Bulls took the honours in that competition.
"We’re growing gradually as a pack and that’s a good sign," said Nche.
"We’ve obviously had a few challenges, guys getting injured and the whole Covid thing as well.
"It kind of messes up the rhythm that you’re building but everyone is willing to slot in and do whatever it takes.
"Against Griquas I had to slot in at tighthead and I was willing to do anything just to make sure that the team has a good base.
"Getting Thomas back is a big boost. He is part of the squad that won the World Cup last year. So, it’s good to have him back because it settles everyone and gets everyone to focus more on their jobs."
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After the postponed Stormers game, the Sharks are again feeling slightly undercooked as they head into their first Currie Cup game of a weird season, against the Pumas at Kings Park on Friday (7pm kick-off).
"We are desperate to get on the park," Nche said.
"We’ve already missed out on a lot of rugby this year. Just getting any opportunity to play, I think that’s great for us and we’re excited and we’re looking forward to it.
"Everyone wants to win and to reclaim the Currie Cup. It is something that we’re keeping in the back of our minds.
"But we are taking it each game at a time. We expect the Pumas to challenge us physically and they are going to bring the fight to us.
"You just have to fight back and use the tools you have to make sure you get the ‘W’ at the end of the game."