Fit and firing Notshe set loose on Leinster as he aims to recover 2020 Sharks form

  • Sharks loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe will be expected to make an impact for the Sharks when they face Leinster on Saturday.
  • Notshe was in serious Bok contention last year before a knee injury saw him being overtaken in the position.
  • Sharks coach Sean Everitt said they needed to rotate their players smartly ahead of what will be a very long season.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe could have and should have closed the door on Jasper Wiese if a knee injury got in the way last year.

That knee injury meant Notshe, who was shining for the Sharks in Super Rugby, missed out on the British & Irish Lions series.

He's quietly mended at the Sharks and with his United Rugby Championship (URC) start against Leinster on Saturday, the Springbok loosie is expected to display all his wares.

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They'll come in handy as Leinster (albeit with a weakened side), lost to the Sharks in Durban last year, but were shocked at home by the Bulls in the tournament's semi-final.

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Sharks coach Sean Everitt said the time was going to come at some point to give Notshe a starting run after two appearances from the bench.

"Notshe had a few games in the Currie Cup and got in a few URC games, but the pre-season helped a lot to get to where he was," Everitt said.

"It's given him a lot of confidence and the time off the bench he has been getting, along with the pre-season friendlies have really helped his cause.

"It's good that we give him a start, so we've just made a rotational switch."

While Nevaldo Fleurs is set for his URC debut from the bench, Everitt has trusted the four loose forwards who have done duty in the past two weeks.

READ | Notshe starts for Sharks against Leinster, ex-Maties star in line for URC debut

James Venter, Dylan Richardson, Notshe, and Phendulani Buthelezi will have the task of taming Leinster on Saturday while Siya Kolisi and Vincent Tshituka bubble under.

"We've been playing the last two games with that trio, so we could say it's a horses for courses selection for us," Everitt said.

"I'm not saying we're not going to play two fetchers going forward, but we still have Vincent Tshituka coming back. He's a blindside flanker who can also play at number six, while we've also got Siya Kolisi back at home who is an opensider.

Everitt's mixing and matching are based on the volume of rugby they still need to play before the year is out.

There's still the significant matter of losing players to the national team while the Heineken Champions Cup looms on the horizon.

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Everitt said some of his selections are based on getting most of the squad players ready for Bok and injury absences.

"We need to balance our team out along with the competitions we need to play. There's a lot of rugby to be played," Everitt said.

"When we play the Bulls on 30 October, the Springboks will be preparing to play Ireland, so Bok players won't be available. When the Springboks play England on 26 November, they won't be allowed to play their overseas players for that game.

"We're thinking ahead as far as that is concerned and we’re trying to give everyone as much game time as possible."

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