Lions prop Sti Sithole feels he still has work to do to realise Bok dream
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JOHANNESBURG – Lions prop Sti Sithole knows that if he ever wants to play for the Springboks in the future, then there is still much that he needs to prove, improve and showcase.
Like most South African-born players, Sithole dreams of donning the green-and-gold one day, but the burly prop admits that the road is long, the journey not yet complete. With the British and Irish Lions tour on the horizon, this might be the chance the 28-year-old has been waiting for – a call up to the Bok setup as the world champions prepare for a three match Test series and a South Africa 'A' tour match in July and August.
But Sithole isn't thinking about all that just yet, even though he admitted it is in the back of his mind. His first priority is the Lions, his Lions.
"There is plenty more I need to do," said Sithole when discussing his Bok chances. "My focus at the moment is obviously on the Lions and what I can do to get our forwards and everyone else going and my role in the team, so we can get the results on the weekends.
"My focus is with the Lions," he continued, "and how I can improve there first. I am not thinking too much about the Springboks. Obviously, it is in the back of my mind, but I must get my performances up here at the Lions first before I can seriously consider that train of thought."
The former Baby Bok further expressed his confidence in his scrumming at the moment, especially after a solid performance against the Stormers this past weekend, but also remained cognisant of the areas where he needs to improve, continuing with the Bulls on Saturday at Emirates Airline Park (kick-off 3.30pm).
Said Sithole: "I am never happy with anything in my game.
"I am not satisfied with my scrumming," he continued, "I'm not satisfied with the mauling, or satisfied with my involvement. I am always looking to increase those – to get in more battles, sharpen up on my scrum, my mauling, and more defence, and my overall workrate around the park."
Even if Sithole doesn't get a crack at the BI Lions wearing shades of green, he will – if Covid-19 doesn't interfere – have a chance of facing the world famous touring team in the colours of his home franchise. The Emirates Lions are scheduled to play the tourists on July 3 at "The Park" in the opening match.
"It will be amazing," Sithole admitted. "It will be an honour to play against the British and Irish Lions. Any rugby player will tell you that. It is a dream, so if it does happen, jiss, I'll be over the moon.
Times have changed now," he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, "so, I don't know if things will change, so I am not getting my hopes up too much."
* Read more of Sti Sitholes thoughts, specifically on the Bulls, in Thursday's edition of The Star