Cape Town – It has been mooted for a while now, but now it is confirmed: Sbu Nkosi will be playing for the Blue Bulls from next season.
The Springbok wing has had a disrupted United Rugby Championship (URC) campaign for the Sharks due to illness and injury, but will look to make a fresh start at Loftus Versfeld from July 1.
Director of rugby Jake White told IOL Sport during a press conference on Friday – ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against Griquas in Pretoria (5pm kickoff) – that the 26-year-old Nkosi won’t be available to the Bulls for the upcoming playoffs, and will remain in Durban until the end of the current season.
In turn, star wing Madosh Tambwe will be going to Europe, with French club Bordeaux linked with his services.
“We will finish the season first. I think his (Nkosi) deal starts when Madosh goes. So, ours is not done on the basis that he arrives early,” White said.
“When his season ends at the Sharks and they’re done and dusted, then I’m sure he’ll pack up and move across to the Bulls – or back to Joburg, where he comes from.
“There is no intention of anyone joining us before the end of the season… I’m talking about from another union in South Africa. The only guy that’s coming in and joins us next week is (lock) Ruan Vermaak. The Japanese season is finished, so he joins us and he will be available as an extra forward from next week onwards.”
White is standing in for Gert Smal at the Bulls Currie Cup side this week as the former Bok and Ireland assistant coach is ill, and he picked a number of his URC stars such as Tambwe, Canan Moodie, Harold Vorster and Chris Smith to take on Griquas.
The Bulls’ last URC league game is on May 20 against the Ospreys in Wales, and the Griquas and next week’s Lions Currie Cup encounters will be vital in keeping the top players match-ready.
“It’s a double-edged sword. We obviously take the Currie Cup seriously, and that’s never going to change. Secondly, a lot of guys will have next week off, as I will probably do another rotation – I don’t think we can give guys two weeks off in a row before the big game that we have against the Ospreys, which is a must-win game for us to hopefully get a home quarter-final,” White said.
“We want to try to keep the momentum, and try to play the way we know we can play. It gives us another hit-out to get certain things right, and just try and do the things that we’ve been doing in the URC – and see whether or not we can do them in the Currie Cup as well.
“It is a nice, balanced team: some young guys who we rate fairly highly, and some older guys who have been there. The locks (Reinhardt Ludwig and Walt Steenkamp) are new this week, so it will be interesting to see how that goes, without having Ruan (Nortje) there all the time.”
Bulls team: 15 Canan Moodie 14 Stravino Jacobs 13 Cornal Hendricks 12 Harold Vorster 11 Madosh Tambwe 10 Chris Smith 9 Embrose Papier 8 WJ Steenkamp 7 Cyle Brink 6 Arno Botha (captain) 5 Reinhardt Ludwig 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Robert Hunt 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Dylan Smith 19 Ruan Nortje 20 Muller Uys 21 Keagan Johannes 22 Juan Mostert 23 Stedman Gans.