Fassi on track to be a ‘Weekend Special’ again, says Plumtree
Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi appears to be gradually regaining his best form
Having faced struggles that contributed to him losing his place among the Springboks and missing out on the Rugby World Cup squad, Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi appears to be gradually regaining his best form.
After a blistering start to his Sharks career in 2018, “Weekend Special,” as he is affectionately nicknamed in reference to the Brenda Fassie hit, quickly became a rugby sensation and forced his way into the Bok set-up in 2021.
He was one of the upcoming stars earmarked to help SA in their world title defence in 2023. However, injuries coupled with inconsistency in his performances in the past two seasons of the United Rugby Championship (URC) saw the 25-year-old, who can also play wing, dropped from the national team.
However, the King William’s Town-born player has been one of the standout performers for the Sharks in their mostly gloomy start to the URC campaign, which took a turn for the brighter with their big 69-14 win against the Dragons at Kings Park on Saturday.
Fassi, capping his performance with a brace of tries, was superb as coach John Plumtree’s Sharks destroyed the Welsh team to register their first win of the season after starting with five straight defeats.
As part of his project to transform the Sharks, Plumtree is working hard on helping Fassi improve on his weaknesses in his game and push him back towards a Springboks recall.
“The beautiful thing about Fassi is [he’s] playing consistently well and that has been his Achilles heel over the past couple of years,” Plumtree said. “He is capable of a really good game and then comes up with a few poor ones, but he’s settled in this team nicely.
“He knows what his strengths are, and we are working really hard on some of those weaknesses. Now he is starting to play consistent rugby. And that’s a challenge for the team — every week being able to play consistently well. I think Fassi is getting on well with that, and that’s a pleasing thing.”
Plumtree will hope Fassi and the rest of the squad will continue after the promising performance against the Dragons when they visit the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
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