Prop Thomas du Toit is refusing to get bogged down in thoughts of how unfortunate he is to miss out on the World Cup but is rather focusing on ending what he called a “good year” on a high note by helping the Sharks defend their Currie Cup title.
Du Toit, 24, must have been close to making the 31-man squad for Japan because he can play either side of the scrum – a “swing prop” – which is valuable in long competitions.
Instead, he will be heading to Bloemfontein this weekend for the Sharks’ semifinal against the Free State Cheetahs.
He said: “It has been a bit disappointing (but) sport is not always a fairy tale.
“You still have to be on standby. There might be injuries – hopefully not – and then obviously I’ll be back in the mix. So I just want to play as much as I can.”
He continued: “It was nice to be at loosehead again last weekend. Loosehead is not quite as familiar anymore.
“Super Rugby was good and it gave me the opportunity to play on both sides. I learnt a lot and it was what I wanted.
“I was happy to have more time at tighthead – that was the plan. And then I had an awesome time with the Springboks as well.”
Up front is probably going to be where Saturday’s semifinal is won or lost and Du Toit reckons the Cheetahs are going to be quick to pull the tricks they are famous for.
“Maybe they’ll use that substitution tactic again? We just have to adapt.
“They have a very good front row and Ox Nche is a brilliant scrummager.
“The Cheetahs have so many attacking threats, so it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re excited,” he said.
Du Toit was an integral part of the Sharks team till he was called up to the Springbok squad, with the Sharks having a mixed start to their Currie Cup defence.
But now he has returned in the midst of a three-game winning streak, he senses a happy vibe in the squad.
“The mood is positive and the boys are all ready to go.
“They are training and working hard, doing their reviews on the other teams, because that’s the Sharks culture – we work hard and we work for each other.”