Sithole eager for fresh start as Lions prepare for Ulster

Lions stalwart Sti Sithole is hoping to get another start when he takes on Ulster in their final United Rugby Championship game of the current European tour on Friday, before the next international break.

After playing on the bench in the Lions’ first two games against Zebre and Scarlets, Sithole finally had a chance to start last week’s tight loss to Glasgow Warriors after former starter Ruan Dreyer took a knock and was not available for selection.

He faced former Springbok veteran Jannie du Plessis, who also received his first start in what was widely seen as a rotational change with Carlu Sadie on the bench, with the two making a superb change as they dominated the Warriors field.

Sithole couldn’t hide his admiration for Du Plessis and the invaluable experience he brought to the team, and he was looking forward to an interesting game against Ulster this weekend, explaining that the team were fully focused on itself and not on the tough opposition. .

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“I think the whole team is learning from him (Du Plessis), especially the props,” Sithole said.

“It’s funny because I watched him when I was young at school and now I play with him, but he brings a lot to the peloton and we appreciate him a lot.

“I think we focus on what we can control. It’s a new competition so I think it’s a bit unnecessary to focus on other factors than what we do, so we stick to what we can control and our preparation.

If Dreyer still isn’t back to full fitness, Sithole is more than likely to get his second start on Friday, and he’ll likely line up alongside Jaco Visagie at hooker – as he’s started all three games so far. present – ​​and Carlu Sadie who should be back in the team race.

Sithole will be delighted to be back on normal grass, having played on the 4G artificial pitch at Scotstoun Stadium last weekend, although he admitted there weren’t too many differences.

“I definitely prefer natural grass,” admitted Sithole.

“But it’s not that big of a difference. I think the biggest difference is the load on your calves. I think you need to use slightly shorter studs as they don’t dig as deep into artificial terrain.

“But everything else is normal. We keep our processes as usual and strive as usual, regardless of the surface.

The action kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Friday night.

Charles P. Patton