Springbok new cap Akona Ndungane fronted the Australian media for the first time and made it clear Lote Tuqiri’s just another opponent.
Ndungane was asked about the ‘Dark Shark’ (Tuqiri’s nickname) and if he had seen footage of how Tuqiri man-handled England winger Tom Varndell. Ndungane said ‘unfortunately’ he had not and the media told him it was not unfortunate, it was ‘fortunate’.
The Bok player is non-plussed. He was adamant that the Tuqiri he has faced and dealt with at regional level is the same bloke who will wear the gold jumper on Saturday in Brisbane. The Australian media seem to think otherwise.
“Basically I know how he [Tuqiri] plays,” Ndungane said. “It’s the same player I’ve been against in the Super 12 and Super 14, but he’s only in a different jersey. Yes, he is hard to play against because he is big and strong, but I’ve never had a major problem. At this level I have to be mentally focused and make certain that I concentrate on everything that I do.”
Ndungane wasn’t interested in further discussing the merits of Tuqiri, focusing on his own performance and adding that Saturday was about what he took to the field, as opposed to a fear of what Tuqiri comes armed with.
It all adds a bit more spice to another chapter in the season of the ‘Dark Shark’, who has been the form international winger of the year.