Quick tap with Sti Sithole

PUBLISHED: April 10, 2024

DHL Stormers prop Sti Sithole on his different experiences of Cape Town, John Dobson then and now and scrum sessions with Neethling Fouche and Frans Malherbe.

You first came to Cape Town after school to play rugby as a student and you have returned as a family man. How different has the experience been?

It is definitely a very different experience. Back then I stayed in a rugby digs with Mike Willemse, Dillyn Leyds and Nathan Nel. As a student at UCT you want to try and experience everything Cape Town has to offer, it was a lot of fun. These days I would say things are a bit more relaxed and I’m a bit more mature, both as a rugby player and in my life off the field. I still like to have fun, but it is maybe a bit more moderate now that I am a bit older and have a family.

You were coached by John Dobson in the DHL WP U21 team. How much has changed and how much has stayed the same since then?

Not that much has changed to be honest, Dobbo was always big on the team culture and belonging. I think now things are a bit more precise and professional in a coaching sense. The game has evolved since then and everything is a lot more scientific. Back then there were no GPS stats and we would just train until Dobbo was happy. I would say he has calmed down a little bit though. I remember once we beat the Hollywoodbets Sharks U21 by about 20 points, but we butchered a lot of chances and he wasn’t happy and told us we should have given them 60. It felt like we didn’t actually win the game, but I think he knew what that team was capable of. We had some great players like Cheslin Kolbe, Dillyn Leyds and Tim Swiel in that team.

Can you describe how tough live scrum sessions are when you are up against the likes of Frans Malherbe and Neethling Fouche?

It is very tough, the intensity makes it almost tougher than matchday simply because guys like Neethling and Frans are top players, but also they know you and what you do because you scrum against them so much. It is full-on and we really go at each other. We are always interchanging so you are scrumming against different hookers and I’ll lose some scrums, but come matchday we are able to win some penalties. So even though I lose a few at training, I know I am going to be better for it on the weekend.

What would you say is your favourite part of playing at DHL Stadium?

It is a world class stadium in a beautiful location, but I think what makes it is the fans. Running through the tunnel and hearing the roar you realise that this team means a lot to them. Then you run onto the pitch and see the flags waving and the smiles on their faces.

How has your family settled into life in Cape Town so far?

My wife and my two sons are finding their feet here pretty nicely. My wife Brielle teaches at the school my oldest son Carter goes to and we have recently found a nanny to look after my youngest son Quincy and they are warming up to her. I met my wife in Cape Town when we were students, so she is familiar with the city and loves it as well.

Which of your teammates is the funniest and which of your teammates thinks he is the funniest?

Hacjivah [Dayimani] is the funniest, he seems to have something to say on just about every topic. There is no subject he won’t say his piece on, he knows something about everything. I’d say [Warrick Gelant] probably thinks he is the funniest.