DURBAN - South African rugby remains on top of the world and can stay there for some time to come, believes Sbu Nkosi, the latest Springbok World Cup-winner to be signed by Roc Nation, the American talent agency that markets some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
Roc Nation, founded by American rapper Jay-Z, is part of the New York-based consortium that bought a controlling interest in the Sharks, and their books already boast Springbok captain Siya Kolisi; arguably the world’s most lethal winger in Cheslin Kolbe; the indomitable Tendai “Beast Mtawarira; plus England’s second-row phenomenon Maro Itoje.
“Those guys are legends of the game, those are some serious Hall of Famers,” Nkosi said of his elevation into their elite company. I am honoured to be alongside such big names but with the excitement comes the responsibility of showcasing the game of rugby.”
The 25-year-old Nkosi, nicknamed “Lomu” at school, because of his fearless stampeding down the wing, is a pugnacious player that oozes competitiveness from every pore. He played with naked aggression and an intimidating bloody-mindedness.
“I have always wanted to scale the highest peak, break every record, collect every trophy that I possibly can,” Nkosi says. “So this honour from Roc Nation has in fact grounded me rather than make me feel another foot taller.
“Our mandate is to shine the light on the sport,” he adds. “South Africa has a great product and we must promote it so that everyone can enjoy it. We are on top of the world and there is no reason we can’t stay there for a long time and inspire South Africans.”
Nkosi says that “shining the light” goes beyond the sporting environment and top players should embrace philanthropy.
“The world is a tough place at the moment and we need to lend a hand. Humans have a responsibility to each other and sometimes a concern for the welfare of others leaves us, but if I am in a position to do philanthropic work, I will.”
This is no doubt a principal reason why Roc Nation signed up The Beast, despite his playing days having ended after the 2019 World Cup final. The 35-year-old Mtawarira is heavily involved in developing young players and helping the needy through The Beast Foundation.
“It is about covering the full spectrum of life, sport, and culture,” Nkosi explains. “The Beast was one of my role models growing up and to play alongside him and now work with him is incredible.”
Right now, though, Nkosi’s focus is on the Rainbow Cup opening match in Cape Town on Friday between the Stormers and the Sharks.
“I am locked and loaded for the Stormers,” he said. “I think all players in this country are hungry for a new challenge and we want everything to work out (for the Rainbow Cup venture into Europe to continue uninterrupted). There is a lot still to happen this year (the Lions tour) and we want to do justice to South African rugby.”