Springbok selection is no longer just a pipe-dream for young Lions flank Vincent Tshituka.
Recently voted by MyPlayers as the Most Improved Player of last season, it’s no secret the 22-year-old forms part of the national plans.
And not even an injury setback has stopped the flanker from taking some big strides in the last two years.
“Last year was a good one for me,” said Tshituka, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “It was certainly an interesting one, with Covid and everything, and to top it all I picked up an ankle injury as well,” added the powerful 107kg and 1.95m blindside flanker.
“But, despite the injury I still managed to play the best games of my career. I am happy where I am, but I feel like I’m only getting started as there is so much more to come from me.”
While Tshituka and his team-mates were on the wrong end of the scoreboard in their Rainbow Cup SA opener against the Bulls last weekend, the big flanker was one of the Lions’ standout players.
And this week he’ll be up against none other than Springbok captain and new Sharks man Siya Kolisi, someone he wouldn’t mind playing alongside in the Springbok team one day.
“Trying to make the Boks is pretty much everything to me right now, it’s my main goal and why I play the game,” Tshituka said.
“With the British and Irish Lions tour around the corner every player wants to put his hand up and that’s definitely going to raise the level of competition.”
Tshituka and his younger brother, lock Emmanual, who was on the Lions bench last weekend, both hail from Northcliff High, a school not renowned for producing top-class rugby players. It’s something Tshituka is hoping can change.
“I come from a modest background and a school where it seems impossible to rise to the top, but it’s a barrier I want to break down,” said Tshituka, who has played in 39 games for the Lions since 2018.