When Sharks coach Robert du Preez on Thursday confirmed Lwazi Mvovo will play fullback against the Lions at Kings Park on Saturday, it was more than just a reward for solid form.
It’s a testament to how he’s picked himself up from 2016.
His Test career looked dead after he was exposed badly in a series against Ireland and he continued drift off after that.
But the prospect of celebrating 100 Super Rugby caps early in this year’s campaign as well as being a senior player has transformed Mvovo again.
The 31-year-old has rediscovered his try-scoring appetite – he’s scored five tries to date – and looks for work again, especially on defence.
He’s become so prominent again than Johan Ackermann, the South Africa A coach, decided to pick him twice in the series against the French Barbarians.
And that in a series where most players were rotated.
However, Saturday is a crowning moment of sorts.
On a day where the Sharks play one of the best sides in the tournament, Mvovo has been preferred over the exciting and equally influential Curwin Bosch.
It is rather significant.
“We just feel that every time Lwazi has played for us at fullback this year, he’s really done well,” said Du Preez.
“He brings a lot of security in the No 15 jersey for us. He’s a very good attacking fullback as he’s proved with the South Africa A side. That’s why we’ve selected him there. It’s quite simple.”
The 20-year-old Bosch was probably in the running to don the flyhalf jersey too but Du Preez rather wants him as a versatile “insurance policy” on the bench.
“Garth April has been doing well at No 1o for us. It’s really just that we wanted continuity in that position too,” said the Sharks mentor.
“Curwin is a great option for us as he can cover both the flyhalf and fullback positions.”