Nyakane an 'awkward' customer

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:43
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By front row forward standards he is still a 'rookie', but 23-year-old Trevor Ntando Nyakane is beginning to show real promise.

By front row forward standards he is still a 'rookie', but 23-year-old Trevor Ntando Nyakane is beginning to show the promise that could attract the attention of the national selectors in a year or two.

Born in Bushbuck Ridge, schooled at Ben Vorster in Tzaneen and having represented Limpopo at the 2007 Craven Week, the former Baby Bok (2010) is making rapid progress under the tutelage of double World Cup-winner Jacobus Petrus (Os) du Randt in Bloemfontein.

In only his second full season of Super Rugby the loosehead prop obviously still has many areas of his game to work on.

However, he is now a key member of a vastly improved Cheetahs pack that will play a vital role as the Bloemfontein franchise attempt to achieve an unprecedented three consecutive victories on the road when they face the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

Nyakane had to overcome a shoulder injury, which forced him off the field after 43 minutes of the win over the Waratahs in Sydney last week, but Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie believes he will be as effective as he has been in the last two outings - victories over the Highlanders in Invercargill and the Tahs.

"He is playing very well," Fourie told this website, adding: "His defence, in particular, is on a different planet from where it was before.

"He has always been a good ball carrier, but against the Highlanders in particular he made some really big hits and had a very high workrate on defence."

Nyakane had a low-key start to the season - attempting just 12 tackles in 80 minutes against the Sharks, while missing four. In the next match, against the Chiefs, he was even more ineffective, making just three tackles.

However, he really came into his own against the Highlanders -  attempting 22 tackles, making 19 and even secured two turnovers.

Last week, against the Waratahs, he made nine of his 10 attempted tackles in the just more than 40 minutes he was on the field and again featured in the 'turnovers won' column.

His scrumming is also improving steadily, especially with Du Randt on hand to share his vast reservoir of knowledge.

"He [Nyakane] is very awkward to scrum against, because he is stocky and powerful," the Cheetahs assistant coach told this website.

While the Cheetahs prop is still a long way off from laying claim to a spot in the Springbok front row, he could do so if he continues to make the progress that has been so evident in his game this year.

"Maybe not right now, but I do believe Trevor has the ability to play for the national team in the future," Fourie said.

"There are still aspects of his game he can work on.

"However, if you compare his game now with a year ago, he has made such remarkable progress that in the next two years, if a player like Beast [Tendai Mtawarira] perhaps decides to call it a day [he could step up].

"At this stage Beast is in a class of his own, but if he does decide to call it a day then I feel players like Trevor and Steven Kitshoff of the Stormers are potential candidates."

Fourie said that despite what some pundits might think, South Africa certainly have depth at loosehead prop.

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 22 July 2017
Lions v Sharks 12h30 Johannesburg
Stormers v Chiefs 15h00 Cape Town
Griquas v Blue Bulls 17h30 Kimberley
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 12h30 Nelspruit
Fri, 28 July 2017
Golden Lions v Griquas 17h00 Johannesburg
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 22 July 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
Highlanders v Reds 40 | 17
Sat, 08 July 2017
Stormers v Sunwolves 52 | 15
Bulls v Kings 30 | 31
Waratahs v Jaguares 27 | 40
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28