One of Rassie Erasmus’ new national projects is expected to be kick-started this weekend.
Rumour has it that Saru’s director of rugby – and the expected interim Springbok coach – has big plans for Stormers utility loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
To that end, the 24-year-old, known for his explosive if somewhat inconsistent style of play, joined the Blitzboks for the start of their new World Sevens Series campaign before returning for Super Rugby.
It’s unlikely that he’ll feature prominently in Saturday’s meeting with the Waratahs in Sydney but his inclusion in the touring squad suggests the Stormers are keen to reintegrate him.
“To be fair, he’s been out of system. I’m not trying to protect him but it does matter that has hasn’t played yet for us this season,” said forwards coach Russell Winter on Tuesday.
“But if there’s one thing we can be sure of is that Sikhumbuzo will be fit. It will be interesting to see what different element he can bring to our game.”
Notshe, who played in the New Zealand leg of the World Sevens Series, noted previously how his stint with the Blitzboks improved his overall work rate, as well as positively influencing his “one-on-one skills on defence and beating players on attack”.
Despite taking it easy with his mercurial talent, Winter is excited to see what results he can deliver at the appropriate time.
“He’s going to be quicker and he’s going to speed up the game,” said the Stormers’ assistant coach.
“Sevens rugby is great for a player’s conditioning. Your one-on-one defence has to be spot on. You simply can’t miss a tackle. That will be beneficial to us too. He’s a skillful player with good feet. We’ll certainly use him when we need him.
“But we have a great mixture of flankers. There are No 7 flankers who can fulfill traditional roles and No 6’s who play to the ball. We’re a rounded group. It’s now just about finding the right combinations.”