Brotherly rivalry has to wait after injury scuppers Tshituka v Tshituka clashDecember 25, 2022
A new brotherly rivalry was supposed to be ignited in Durban on Friday night when the Tshituka brothers, Vincent and Emmanuel, were set to battle it out on opposite sides for the first time when the Sharks and Lions clashed in their United Rugby Championship (URC) match.
However a late injury to Vincent, who was named to start at lock for the first time in his career, in place of rested Springbok enforcer Eben Etzebeth, saw the elder brother withdrawn shortly before the game.
The Tshituka’s will now have to wait for the return fixture at Ellis Park in mid-February to hopefully start a new and exciting brotherly rivalry that could become a thrilling part of the SA rugby landscape for many years.
Vince and Manu, as they are known, had only ever played together professionally, although they both went to the same school, Northcliff High, where 24-year-old Vince and 22-year-old Manu never played in the same team at the same time.
That all changed when Manu followed in his brother’s footsteps and worked his way into the Lions squad, where he made his debut in 2021, after Vince had done the same back in 2018.
The two then played together for close to two years, forming a dynamic partnership during the latter stages of last season’s URC competition, before Vince made the move down to Durban to join up with the Sharks at the conclusion of the inaugural URC season.
“For the past two years we got used to playing with each other but now the time has come that we play against each other. We have spoken about it, and it is something that we are both excited for,” admitted Manu in the lead up to the Lions and Sharks URC match.
“Our family is quite excited as well. My (younger) brother, my mom and my dad, everyone is quite excited to watch the game.
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“But I think I can speak for the both of us when I say it’s ultimately just another fixture where we get to represent our franchises. I will just go out to do my best, as I have done the last couple of weeks.”
It was however set to be an interesting match-up as Manu was named to start at No 6 for the Lions, having played at eighthman for them over the past few games, while Vince was named at No 4 lock for the Sharks, despite having only played in the loose for them so far.
Manu has enjoyed a strong season for the Lions to date and is aiming to continue building on it over the rest of the campaign.
“I am happy but I am not content. It’s one thing the coach’s drive on their side, to never be content or complacent with your performances. You must always strive to get better each week,” said Manu about his form this season.
“So my goal is to always come out and make the most of it each week and play as well as I can for my teammates.”
When the Tshituka’s eventually face each other for the first time they will join up with another Lions v Sharks rivalry that started last year, between the Hendrikse brothers, Jordan and Jaden.
Jordan started at flyhalf for the Lions on Friday, while Jaden came off the bench at scrumhalf for the Sharks in the second half, in a match that the Sharks ran out comfortable 37-10 winners.
Arguably the most famous recent brother v brother rivalries in South African rugby have been between the Ndungane twins and the Du Plessis brothers.
With the Ndungane’s, Akona played for the Bulls and Odwa played for the Sharks, and their parents used to sit in the stands with their father and mother wearing opposing team shirts.
For the Du Plessis brothers, the Bulls Bismarck and the Sharks Jannie were famous for having a big club rivalry, while forming a powerful Springbok partnership over many years.
The Du Preez brothers also had a short lived rivalry when oldest brother Robert represented the Stormers, while twins Jean-Luc and Dan played for the Sharks, while all three now play for Sale Sharks in England.
Another short rivalry was between the Jantjies brothers when Elton represented the Lions and Tony played for the Bulls.