If Trevor Nyakane and members of the local rugby fraternity we’re hoping for more clarity on which side of the scrum he’ll be, they’ll still be in the dark.
Bulls coach John Mitchell confirmed on Thursday that he intends to keep shifting the Springbok prop between loosehead and tighthead for the upcoming Super Rugby campaign.
That would suggest the former All Blacks mentor values Nyakane’s versatility highly but it’s also a bit of touchy subject.
Some critics believe the 28-year-old’s development has been hampered because he hasn’t settled in one position.
“If it’s up to me, he’ll play both sides of the scrum,” said Mitchell on Thursday.
“If Trevor continues to maintain and lift his standards, he’ll either play loosehead or tighthead. We’re very fortunate that we have that skillset of him. He plays well in both positions.”
However, with Mitchell picking Nyakane at No 1 for Saturday’s final warm-up match against Argentina’s Jaguares, it does seem to suggest that the genial, free-running prop is still considered more of a loosehead.
It’s the position where he made his initial mark as professional player.
“Trevor’s coming in at loosehead. We know he can play tighthead too,” said Mitchell.
“I think he’s a very good loosehead and is perhaps still learning a bit how to be really effective in the No 3 jersey.”
One thing you can be on though is that Nyakane won’t be starved of game-time in 2018 with Mitchell seemingly suggesting that the man from Bushbuckridge was used poorly by Allister Coetzee and co at national level.
“It’s important for him to start in this match,” said the Bulls mentor.
“Most of last year, his rugby was from the bench. His international minutes really were minimal. It was six minutes here, eight minutes there, 12 minutes probably at most.
“Those small amounts of time don’t necessarily grow a prop. We’re very much about a 45-35 (minutes) or 50-30 combination, where all the props are contributing as either starters or finishers. We can allow them to stay fresh and it gives a guy purpose.”