Sikhumbuzo Notshe is in not two minds about what the imminent tour of the British and Irish Lions means to South African players, and he is determined not to miss a boat that only comes around every 12 years.
The Lions’ touring squad is to be announced by coach Warren Gatland on Thursday and Lions fever is stepping up accordingly.
“I am not going to bulldust you — everybody wants to be involved in the Lions tour,” the Sharks and former Springbok No 8 said. “We have had alignment camps (with Bok coach Jacques Nienaber) and things were put out there, which I won’t share, about what is expected of us as rugby players.
“Everybody wants to play. It only comes around every 12 years so that makes it a generational thing. If you miss it, you miss, and not a lot of players still playing have had the experience.”
The 27-year-old Notshe played six Tests for the Boks in 2018 but missed out on World Cup selection in 2019, and with the Boks playing no international rugby in 2020, he would dearly love to make a Springbok comeback in this unique year.
“It would be a huge honour for any player to be in action against the Lions but to be honest with you I am more worried about the Golden Lions right now rather than something in the future because if I don’t play well on Saturday against the local Lions (at Jonsson Kings Park, 4pm), nothing will guarantee me playing against the touring Lions.
“But I won’t bulldust you that South African players are not looking forward to the Lions tour because as I mentioned, it doesn’t come around often. I was 16 when they were here in 2009 so if I miss it now I will never play against them.”