Wing S’bu Nkosi says the emergence of utility back Aphelele Fassi has heightened the backline competition within the Sharks set-up.
The Sharks advanced to the Currie Cup final for the second successive year and will take on hosts Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
Fassi has enjoyed a stellar debut season, and caught the eye once again in last weekend’s semi-final against the Golden Lions when he chased down Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi with relative ease.
On Tuesday, Nkosi was full of praise for the contribution Fassi has made to help the Sharks progress deep into the competition once again.
‘He has more talent in his left toe than I’ve got in my whole body … He definitely has more gas than me, so I’ve got some stuff to learn from him too,’ Nkosi admitted. ‘It [Fassi’s breakthrough in the senior team] makes our environment very competitive, which is conducive to growth.
‘I’m happy that we’ve got some youngsters coming through, even though I’m a youngster myself. It’s absolutely awesome and I love it.’
Western Province beat the Sharks 33-21 in the 2017 final in Durban, and defeated the Sharks again in the league phase this season. Province are also unbeaten this year, but Nkosi refused to accept the notion that the defending champions are favourites heading into the game.
‘Of course I don’t agree with that. I’m a Sharks player, I don’t need to say much more. I want to win the Currie Cup and that’s that,’ he said.
‘We’re in a different space now. We’ve become comfortable with the shape we’re playing and have got better at decision-making, especially with regards to ball retention. If we can build phases, we’ll inevitably build momentum and will be able to build a good innings against Province.
‘It’s a Currie Cup final, if that’s not enough motivation for you, then you’re not where you’re supposed to be. I’m very motivated and determined to do as much as I need to do to make sure that when we fly back to Durban, that cup is on the plane with us.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 22, 2018
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images