In his first media appearance as a Springbok squad member, Rosko Specman has spoken about his journey from the sevens scene, his nickname and learning from his teammates.
‘It’s your boy! Specmagic!’
Those were the first words spoken by Rosko Specman as he sat down for his Springbok media appearance. The beaming smile on his face was infectious, the atmosphere lifted.
It may have been Specman’s first appearance in front of the media as a Springbok squad member – but he was anything but camera shy.
The speedster spoke candidly about his journey from Blizboks star to Springbok squad selection. One that has been rocky at times.
‘I made a decision in 2017 when I was on loan to the Cheetahs, where I am still currently playing, that I don’t just want to be one of those guys that is only a sevens player.
‘Coming to the Cheetahs I saw I could still play 15-a-side rugby and then I thought I could just go back to Sevens.
‘In 2018 I joined the Bulls and that it is where everything came together and I realised I am going to give this team all I can in 15-man rugby.’
Although his time at the Bulls was to give Specman the confidence that he could succeed in the 15-man game, it was not to be the fairytale ending for the winger.
Although he freely admits that his departure from the Bulls wasn’t on his own terms, Specman doesn’t harbour any resentment and instead says that the process helped him grow.
‘You start to look at yourself and question what it is that you might not be doing. How you can improve your game. If one door closes, another one opens.’
Despite having seemingly committed himself to the 15-man game, the Olympic dream still beckoned for Specman. He concedes that it was a decision not lightly taken to pass up the opportunity to represent the Blitzboks in Japan.
‘When I was at the first [Springbok] alignment camp, and then attended the second one, [Sevens] coach Neil [Powell] and I spoke over the phone and I told him that I had been at the Olympic Games, but that I had not played for the Springboks, and that if I could play against the British & Irish Lions I would play.
‘It was a tough decision, but I spoke to coach Neil, and he said he would give me the opportunity to go for it.’
Specman has certainly seized the opportunity with both hands. His talent caught the eye of the Springbok management, but one feels that his influence on the squad goes beyond his abilities ball in hand.
Specman describes himself as a ‘vibe guy’, someone who lifts the mood amongst his teammates and contributes to a positive atmosphere. With his good humour and laidback demeanour, it is easy to understand why.
‘Specmagic means easy vibes. Enjoy yourself and bring the energy, but work hard. And there’s still hard work to be done, baby!’
Behind the carefree exterior, however, it is clear that Specman is a serious competitor. His commitment to his craft is evident, and he himself has spoken of his intense desire to learn from his teammates.
‘It’s a blessing to be at the camp. I told myself this opportunity won’t come around every time so I have to be like a sponge and get all the information out of players like Willie [le Roux] and Cheslin [Kolbe], so that I can also take my game to a higher level because they have obviously played at the highest level and I’d also like to be there one day.’
At 32-years of age, Specman is a seasoned veteran, but he laughs off any concerns about his age with his typical mirth.
‘I’m like fine wine. The older I get, the better I get’.