WATCH: Boks' Nkosi has newfound confidence and responsibility after winning RWC

WATCH: Boks' Nkosi has newfound confidence and responsibility after winning RWC

Sharks and Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi has newfound confidence and responsibility after winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the Springboks.

Sbu Nkosi
Steve Haag Sports

Two months ago Sbu Nkosi joined his teammates on the stage of the International Stadium Yokohama as Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi hoisted the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first time. 

Nkosi may not have played every game of the Rugby World Cup but he had a big role to play at a critical juncture of the tournament. With Cheslin Kolbe struggling with an ankle injury, Nkosi was selected in the starting lineup for the Springboks’ semi-final clash against Wales.

WATCH:  Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi on life after winning the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 season

The right wing did well under trying conditions and produced a solid performance that helped the Springboks to a narrow 19-16 win. It would be his last contribution to the Springboks’ World Cup campaign but it was a crucial one as South Africa booked their spot in the final.

The dust has now settled on the Springboks’ triumph and a brand new rugby season is looming  as well as the start of a new four year cycle before the next Rugby World Cup.

Nkosi returned to training with the Sharks late last year alongside fellow World Cup winners Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Thomas du Toit. The four players enjoyed some well-earned time off to celebrate their triumph in Japan but they’re having to pack away their winners medals and refocus ahead of the start of Super Rugby.

“It was new for all of us so we just took everything as it came,” Nkosi said in an interview at Kings Park as the team prepares for their Super Hero Sunday clash against the Stormers.

“We kind of have to bury all of that for now and focus on making this a successful season for our respective franchises.” 

Fame and fortune have different effects on different people. It seems that the success of the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign and the celebrations that have followed have not gone to Nkosi’s head.

The 23-year-old wing says the achievement has given him an interesting perspective at a relatively early juncture in his career. Nkosi says he’s conscious of his role in the team and the need to set a positive example for his team mates.

“Personally it has given me confidence and responsibility. I’ve come back and the guys that play the same position as me are looking up to me. So I know now that when we are running, I can’t be running behind them, when we’re passing I can’t be passing worse than them. I have to show more energy in everything. They look up to you and they’re looking at you to set a certain standard.” 

There will be plenty of competition among the Sharks outside backs this season. Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi are the incumbent wings going into the Super Rugby season. But the Sharks also welcomed former Lions speedster Madosh Tambwe, while the likes of former World Cup winner JP Pietersen and seasoned Springbok Lwazi Mvovo are also in the mix.

Add in the likes of exciting youngster Aphelele Fassi and there is no shortage of firepower in the Sharks armory out wide. Nkosi says the competition for places is a healthy problem to have.

“It’s an age old story in sport - competition is always there. Our position is very saturated in South Africa but in a such a good way. Myself, Mapimps and Madosh train together in the gym, we do everything together so we can understand each other better and feed off and learn from each other. We’ve got a really good bond going on.” 

The Sharks will take on the Stormers in the opening match of the double-header at Super Hero Sunday. Kickoff is at 13h00.

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