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Siya Masuku knocks on Springbok’s door

In recent weeks the Sharks have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, largely fueled by the excellent performances of flyhalf Siya Masuku. In no uncertain terms, he has been the missing cog in the coastal team’s machine.

Masuku was born in the small town of Paulpietersburg in KwaZulu-Natal, but attended Piet Retief High School in Mpumalanga where his rugby talents first took shape.

However, his path to senior rugby was not easy. Masuku spent time with the Pumas, Leopards, Lions and Southern Kings without ever seeming to really find the perfect match for his talents.

Masuku memorably led the Rustenburg Impala club to the Gold Cup in 2019, but there was always the feeling he was destined for bigger and better things.

His big break didn’t come until he was picked up by the Cheetahs, with more regular appearances and a clear appetite for the big occasions eventually leading to a career-changing move to the Sharks.

It is here that Masuku has come into his own, winning four Man of the Match awards in the Sharks’ last five games, while playing a key role in their progress to the Challenge Cup final.

Siya Masuku could suddenly break into the Springbok team

There’s no doubt that Masuku isn’t the finished product yet, but he is a late bloomer who has certainly proven what he can do when backed by his management team.

At a time when the Springbok coaches will have to consider a number of different options for the one-off Tests against Wales and Portugal in June and July, there is every reason to believe the Siya Masuku could emerge as a strong contender.

Masuku scored 22 points as the Sharks defeated Clermont in the Challenge Cup semi-final at the Twickenham Stoop last weekend, and his accuracy from kick-off would certainly appeal to the national team coaches.

‘More to come’

The 27-year-old had to wait until February to make his Sharks debut, but coach John Plumtree has reiterated there is still more to come from the ‘humble’ flyhalf.

Siya is a beautiful story, isn’t it? He’s played well on the big stage now,” Plumtree said after the Sharks’ recent victory abroad. “I’m just really happy for him. He has a very modest character. He feels very honored to be able to play in this shirt and makes the most of his opportunities.

“He will still get better. He can improve his skills, he can improve his passing, he can improve as an athlete. He hasn’t gotten close to his ceiling yet. He’s a confident little player.

“His kicking is great. When he goes for the ball, he’s not just trying for 30 yards, he’s looking for 40 yards. I like his attitude during the game and the players like him. He is currently riding the crest of the wave.”