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Tug-of-war for Sbu Nkosi as Sharks try to fend off Bulls for Springboks’ wing

Sbu Nkosi of the Sharks during the United Rugby Championship against the Stormers. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Sbu Nkosi of the Sharks during the United Rugby Championship against the Stormers. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Mar 21, 2022


Durban - In what is rapidly becoming an open secret, Springbok and Sharks wing Sbu Nkosi appears set to join the Bulls in June.

While neither the Sharks nor the Bulls have confirmed the move, it is understood that Nkosi is likely to move to Loftus Versfeld to fill the void that will be created later this year when current Bulls right wing Madosh Tambwe moves overseas.

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The restless Tambwe has already had stints at the Lions, Bulls and Sharks and is now leaving South Africa to take up a lucrative contract with French club Bordeaux.

While sources at the Bulls are saying it is a done deal, Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee says the tug of war over the feisty Nkosi is not over.

“We are still negotiating with Sbu,” Coetzee told reporters. “We’ve got a lot of high-profile players like Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am, and obviously they all cost a lot of money.

“We would definitely like to keep Sbu but we haven't agreed just beyond his current contract. There is a possibility he might leave but nothing has been confirmed.”

Nkosi has not turned out for the Sharks for a while now. He was pulled out of the Sharks line-up just before their United Rugby Championship clash against Welsh side Scarlets two weeks ago — reportedly because of a tummy bug — and then played no part in last week’s game against Zebre at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

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It will be interesting to see if Nkosi returns to action for this week’s home match against Zebre on Saturday, particularly because the Sharks are carrying a few injuries in the backline, notably to Springboks Aphelele Fassi and Makazole Mapimpi.

Coach Sean Everitt said they are awaiting developments with Fassi’s ankle injury, which forced him from the field, but there is better news regarding Mapimpi.

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“Mapimpi took a knock against the Scarlets, so we took the conservative route and left him out of the Zebre game but he should be okay this week,” Everitt said.

Thomas du Toit was another who left the field injured against the Italians but Everitt said this was precautionary.

“Thomas has been carrying a wrist injury and we saw no reason to leave him on for too long. We did not want to risk him,” the coach said.

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The Sharks comfortably beat Zebre 38-6 for their fourth URC win in a row but only after a laboured first-half performance that was littered with mistakes.

“It was a frustrating performance, especially in the first half, because we created so many opportunities,” Everitt admitted. “We just were not clinical but we stuck to it and in the end, the score-line tells the story.”

It is a busy week for the Sharks in that that they host the Cheetahs on Wednesday evening in a Currie Cup fixture and then on Saturday the URC team is up against touring Edinburgh, who are in fifth place on the log, just one place above the Sharks.

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