Super Rugby

Bulls clash won't be one-on-one scrumhalf battle, says Sharks' Sanele Nohamba

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Sanele Nohamba (Gallo)
Sanele Nohamba (Gallo)
  • Sanele Nohamba said Saturday’s Super Rugby unlocked clash with the Bulls wouldn’t necessarily hinge on the battle of the halfbacks.
  • The Sharks travel to Loftus this weekend, the scene of their 49-28 Super Fan Saturday massacre. 
  • Nohamba faces the possibility of a tough test against two Bok-capped halfbacks, Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl.

Sharks hot stuff Sanele Nohamba said Saturday’s Super Rugby unlocked clash with the Bulls wouldn’t necessarily hinge on the battle of the halfbacks.

Nohamba has maintained the form that brought him into countrywide prominence since his breakthrough Currie Cup season last year and onto the Super Rugby season that ended due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March.

He again impressed as part of the Springbok Showdown this month before putting a clean performance on for the Sharks in their first Super Rugby Unlocked outing against the Lions a fortnight ago.

But come the weekend, he will face up to either Embrose Papier or Ivan van Zyl, both of whom are capped Springboks, a badge Nohamba has yet to wear, though it seems only a matter of time.

The Bulls halfback pair has also been bolstered by the inclusion of former Bok mastermind Fourie du Preez, who is an Einstein of the No 9 trade, into the Bulls coaching consultants.

“Both of them are good scrumhalfs and they’ve got a good kicking game,” said Nohamba.

“But I think it will be a team effort and won’t be one-on-one battles. We just need to handle those kicks and everything that they bring to the table and play from there.

“The last time we were up there, our kicking game wasn’t as sharp. If we fix that, we will take that counter-attacking option away from them and away from their quick outside backs.

“I’ve sharpened up on what I need to do for the team and I haven’t changed anything on my side.

“The things we can do better is our approach to the breakdown and our mindset.

“Those were the two things we picked up from that warm-up game and we fixed it during the week, so we are ready to go.”

The Sharks had a bye last weekend, which Nohamba said was good for the players, who are still adjusting to the return to competitive play after five months indoors during lockdown.

“The bye week was obviously good for the body, for the guys to get some rest, to reset and come back firing for this next game,” Nohamba said.

“The Bulls are going pretty well. They are a physical side, so that’s what’s expected this weekend. We just need to match their physicality and then I think we stand a good chance of winning.

“We’ve had a change of mindset. Three weeks ago it didn’t go too well for us, but a change of mindset will allow us to do what we do best, which is to play our kind of rugby.”

And what did the 21-year-old make of his inclusion into the Springbok Showdown and rubbing shoulders with the country’s elite rugby players?

“It was a great experience to be in the Springbok mix,” he said.

“I learnt a lot that week and I’ve brought those things back here. It’s great that we will have all the internationals playing in the domestic tournaments after the Springboks decided not to play the Rugby Championship.

“That means you get to measure yourself against the best in the country. For guys like us (young players) it’s better to play against that calibre of players.”

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