He once thought Julian Redelinghuys was one of the toughest guys to scrum against, and now he is fortunate enough to be mentored by the former Bok, according to Lions loosehead prop Sithembiso ‘Sti’ Sithole.
Redelinghuys, now the Lions scrum consultant, and Crusaders prop Owen Franks were probably the two toughest opponents he had faced, Sithole said ahead of this week’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls.
“Julian has great experience. He was a Springbok and a great tighthead,” Sithole said, who wants to focus on specialising at loosehead and follow in the footsteps of the legendary Beast Mtawarira.
“He has helped me a lot, and he has helped the front row, so he has had a great impact.”
Expected to play off the bench this weekend against the likes of another Bok in Trevor Nyakane, Sithole said they expected the going to be tough.
“The Bulls have a couple of Boks up front and a great pack,” said the 25-year-old player.
“It’s always a big match-up, but we’ve prepared well and it should be a great contest.”
Born in Durban and schooled at Westville High, Sithole attended the University of Cape Town and played for Western Province in 2014 and 2015.
He then moved to the Kings in 2016 before joining the Lions in 2017.
“Our props just love scrumming but I’m very glad to be in the set-up and getting a bit of a run. We have had a great pre-season,” he said.
Sithole felt he had grown so much as a player at the Kings, both on and off the field, that it was his time in the Eastern Cape which earned him a spot at the Lions.
“Initially I struggled at training at the Lions, on the Highveld and at altitude, because we train at such high intensity to simulate the play of Super Rugby level, but I love it.”