The Sharks have managed to retain the services of two of their biggest players. The franchise confirmed that star props Thomas Du Toit and Retshegofaditswe Nche have been locked in until 2023.

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The 1.9m, 136Kg human wrecking ball known as Thomas du Toit has come a long way since leaving Paarl Boys High in 2013.

The captain of Paarl Boys in his final year, he was selected for the SA Schools side that played three times in the August of 2013 against England France and Wales. He played in both the England (as a sub) and France (entire game) matches but was an unused sub against Wales.

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England train ahead of the ANC final:

Western Province were really keen to sign him right from the start but his heart was always set on signing with the Sharks.

Rumour has it that when the WP scouts arrived to talk to him about a contract, he was sitting there waiting for them dressed in a Sharks jersey with a big grin on his face.

The giant No.3, affectionately known to his teammates as ‘Tank’ has since trotted out onto the field 110 times in that jersey and has become an integral part of the team, providing them with a menacing physical presence right from the age of 19 when he played his first Super Rugby match.

He’s scored 7 tries to date in his 36 Super Rugby appearances for the Sharks and having completed the transition from loosehead to tighthead now makes him a really valuable component of the front row being able to pack down on either side of the scrum.

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Former Springbok prop Robbie Kempson who won back-to-back Currie Cup titles for the Sharks in ’95 and ’96 was full of praise for Du Toit’s move.

“He has done an incredible amount of work and he should take a lot of the accolades,” Kempson said.

“From where he started compared to where he is now, he is a different prop and he can hold his own on the tighthead without question.”

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After having been side-lined with a calf injury in the local Super Rugby Unlocked competition the big prop is now back into the swing of things again anchoring the Sharks pack at tighthead for their 2020 Currie Cup campaign.

A short stint with Munster had Thomas contemplate a possible move to Europe. He’s since drawn a lot of attention from European clubs and there have been lucrative offers but with his first child due to be born in two months and his ambition to become the best tighthead prop in country he’s decided to say no to the move and has signed a three year extension to his contract with the Sharks and he and his team-mate Ox Nche are now committed until 2023.

Nche, who has one Springbok cap to date, has fit seamlessly into the Sharks since joining from the Cheetahs. “I’ve never had a season quite like this, it’s been hard particularly without the fans,” Nche said last week. “I did have a similar season with the Cheetahs when we had to transition from Vodacom Super Rugby to Pro 14, but this is been very different because at least then you knew you had the support of your fans at the stadium.

“Now we playing in front of empty stands so yeah, it’s been quite unique.”

Of his teammate, Nche said: “It’s great to have him back, he is a member of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad and that helps us to settle, focus on our jobs and do the basics right.”

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