Ox Nche has successfully recovered from the gym mishap that resulted in his pectoral injury and is determined to make a strong impression in his first Test of the year against Wales on Saturday.
Nche was set to start in the Rugby Championship opener against the Wallabies in Pretoria – a game the Springboks went on to win 43-12 – but was forced to withdraw a few days before the game due to injury.
However, after working his way back to fitness, he was named in the 33-player squad for the World Cup in France, where he will be making his first appearance in the global tournament.
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the happy-go-lucky loosehead was able to chuckle at the way he suffered his pectoral injury and said he was delighted to be back in action.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 17, 2023
“I tore the muscle in gym,” Nche explained. “I was just in a rush and didn’t warm up properly and tore it. That’s what happened.
“I am excited. I’m finally getting a chance to play. My focus now is on doing my best and making a good impression. As much as I am excited for the World Cup, it’s all about getting back to full confidence and trusting where I left off.”
Having watched teammates Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane and recent debutant Gerhard Steenekamp bulldoze their way through opposition scrums, Nche was concerned that he might not make the final cut for the flight to France.
“It crossed my mind a few times that I may not make the World Cup group because everyone was playing well and the team was progressing nicely,” Nche admitted. “But I’m grateful to be here and I plan to give my best.”
He added: “When you have an injury, you have to work twice as hard as the other players so that you can prepare yourself for the collisions and demands of the game, so it’s good to be here.”
Photo: EJ Langner/Gallo Images