DURBAN – Improved competition for places in the Sharks backline means that a find of last season, Sbu Nkosi, is pushing hard for inclusion in the starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Last year Nkosi was dead on track for Springbok selection for the end-of-year tour to Europe only to suffer a serious elbow injury late in the Currie Cup. He has not played since.
In the meantime, the Sharks have signed Makezole Mapimpi, a certain starter on one of the wings for the Sharks given his success last year, which amounted to an incredible 28 tries. If one considers that the experienced Kobus van Wyk is likely to occupy the other wing position, just where does that leave Nkosi?
We know that the Sharks are looking to play Lwazi Mvovo at fullback this season, the former Bok wing now being seen as the Sharks’ rock at No 15, a position he has played for the SA Barbarians.
For Nkosi, it can only be about doing his best to push for inclusion in what could be an exciting back three.
“The competition for places is there, we all know it, the only thing I can do is (to) drive myself harder in training knowing that I have no guarantee for a place, and that pushing harder can only benefit the team,” Nkosi said.
The 22-year-old said that that pre-season had been tough, but that tests had shown it had been rewarding.
“If we can just implement what we have done in a new way of conditioning towards game situations, we should be okay,” he said. “Our conditioning should give us an edge.
“I am not relaxed, but I am confident that we have a plan in hand to move on from the Currie Cup,” Nkosi said.