Nama Xaba could leave the field against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday with his head held high, despite his Stormers losing 33-30 in their first Rainbow Cup SA clash.
The 23-year-old from Durban had just faced the Springbok captain and the man he replaced in the Stormers No.6 jumper, Siya Kolisi, and more than stood his man.
In fact, Xaba was one of the shining lights in the game for the Capetonians, who lost Kolisi to the Sharks at the start of the season.
Stormers coach John Dobson explains: “I thought he [Xaba] was one of the real highlights for us – the performance of those two flanks Nama and Pieter-Steph du Toit after so long out.
“He [Xaba] got a couple of steals, slowed down a lot of other balls, looked after our ball and carried well. I thought he was absolutely exceptional.”
With Kade Wolhuter ruled out for the season after suffering a knee injury against the Sharks, Dobson adds of the other niggles in the squad as they gear up to host the Bulls on Saturday: “Herschel [Jantjies] suffered a double contusion on the same spot and we are very sensitive around that sort of thing after what happened to Pieter-Steph, he should be okay.
“JD Schickerling tweaked his ankle, whether he makes it [for the Bulls] or not, I’m not sure.”