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Brother v Brother … Battle of the Tshitukas as Sharks host Lions in URC

Johannesburg — It could be a ‘Battle of Brothers’ on Friday when the Tshitukas possibly go head-to-head against each other for the first time in a professional rugby match.

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It will be a potential clash of the elder Vincent against the younger Emmanuel, and it could be a sibling encounter for the ages. Naturally, Vince and Manu know each other extremely well, and as former teammates at the Lions, have learnt each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and ins-and-outs.

On Friday at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, the brothers could put those skills and talents against each other when the Sharks host the Lions in a United Rugby Championship (URC) clash (kick-off 5pm), if they are selected for their respective teams.

“For the past two years we got used to playing with each other but now the time has come that we play against each other,” Emmanuel mused on Tuesday. “We have spoken about it, and it is something that we are both excited for …

“Our family is quite excited as well — my mom, my dad — but I think I can speak for the both of us when I say, it is just another fixture where we get to represent our franchises.

“I will do my best, as I have done the last couple of weeks.”

Emmanuel had a quiet game by his standards this past weekend in the Lions’ EPCR Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais, but has generally been a standout performer for the team throughout this season.

He was well-marked during that game, but has had some truly noteworthy games to write home about in recent weeks. The departure of Vincent has also afforded his younger brother the opportunity to express himself on a more consistent basis.

Vincent has, after a brief injury set-back before the season, slowly worked his way into the starting XV of the Sharks as well; and has begun to string together those performances which made him such an attractive prospect for the Durbanites, in recent matches.

Much like his brother Emmanuel, who is two years his junior, he will nonetheless not be all too pleased about his outings as both players are always striving to reach the unattainable — the perfect match.

Said Emmanuel of his current form: “I am happy but I am not content.

“You can never be content or complacent regarding your performance and you must always try to get better each week. My goal is to always come out and make the most of it and play as well as I can for my teammates.”

The Tshitukas will know on Thursday if they will face each other. It will be then that Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell announces his matchday 23 for the clash. Lions head coach, Ivan van Rooyen, is scheduled to name his team on Wednesday.

@FreemanZAR

IOL Sport

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