Nkosi: Players’ professionalism has been tested

Sharks and Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi says he is driven by a desire to make an impact each time he takes the field, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

Last week Nkosi was confirmed as the latest high-profile rugby star to sign on to powerhouse sports agency Roc Nation, joining fellow World Cup-winners Siya Kolisi, Cheslin Kolbe and Beast Mtawarira.

In an exclusive interview with SARugbymag.co.za, Nkosi said he had always harboured ambitions of joining Roc Nation, but admitted it had caught him somewhat by surprise that it materialised so quickly.

‘It means a lot to me. If you look at the calibre of athletes they represent, it says a lot about the potential they see in them. And it puts an onus on me to live up to that potential. I think it will help provide me with the luxury to really focus on improving my game as much as a I can because I know the rest will be looked after because they have such a professional set-up.’

Nkosi was one of the standout performers for the Sharks during the Currie Cup that concluded in January, with the powerful wing looking in top physical condition after overcoming a couple injury troubles that disrupted his start to the Super Rugby Unlocked competition that took place after lockdown.

Reflecting on the disruptions and challenges over the last year, Nkosi said the extraordinary circumstances had ‘tested players’ professionalism more than ever’.

‘We have been kept idling for long periods just waiting to get back on the field, and it’s been extremely challenging. To finally get back in action has been really important, but it’s been a real test for players to ensure we stay ready for competition at any moment, and to stay on top of your game even when there wasn’t any action.

‘I want to be scoring tries, and to be influential in every game I play. Of course, everyone is looking to crack that Lions squad to showcase what we can do against the best of the best. Winning a series against the Lions is not something that many players experience, and so I’d love to just have that opportunity to be part of a successful Springbok side once again.

‘Considering many players have now won a Rugby Championship and a World Cup, to put a British & Irish Lions tour on top of that would be historic. We are so excited about that series, and especially being at home. It goes without saying I’d love to be part of that series and to hopefully play an influential role.’

Of course, Nkosi has now been joined at the Sharks by Springbok captain Kolisi, which he described as ‘really exciting’.

‘Siya is so amazing on and off the field. He’ll add some more firepower to our pack and, for us as backs, we obviously feed off that foundation up front.

‘He’s also been with Roc Nation for a while, and you can see he’s got that experience, because there is so much he’s already been doing in that regard. So, Siya’s advice and input is something I will definitely lean on when it comes to some of the commercial opportunities and off-field stuff as well.’

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis