Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
12 May 2022
7:10 pm

A Barberton Daisy for a top-class wing: Fresh start for Sbu Nkosi

Ken Borland

“I felt like a new chapter needed to be opened so I can get my career back to the Sbu Nkosi everyone knows."

Bulls coach Jake White (left) welcomes Sbu Nkosi to Loftus Versfeld on Thursday. Picture: Lee Warren/ Gallo Images

Sbu Nkosi was born in Barberton 26 years ago and will now wear a Barberton Daisy on his rugby jersey, saying on Thursday that he believes a move to the Bulls is just the fresh start he needs to return to being the top-class wing who helped South Africa win the 2019 World Cup.

Nkosi famously filled in for an injured Cheslin Kolbe in the World Cup semi-final against Wales in Japan, but then did not play in the Tests against the British and Irish Lions last year and has endured a rotten run of injuries and illness this season.

Given his limited playing time for the Sharks, it is unlikely that Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber still sees him as being in the top three wings for the national team.

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“Injuries happen but it’s a chance for me to completely reset and build afresh, being here is a massive chance to be part of a good thing going on in Pretoria,” said Nkosi, who arrived at Loftus Versveld on crutches following ankle surgery.

“I am very grateful to the Sharks. They are the reason my career has gone the way it has – they developed me and taught me to be a man – but moving to the Bulls is the best decision for me.

‘A new chapter’

“I felt like a new chapter needed to be opened so I can get my career back to the Sbu Nkosi everyone knows,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what union you play for when it comes to making the World Cup squad. That is judged purely on performance and I need to be fit and ready to play to even start thinking about being in the reckoning for selection.”

Nkosi was headhunted by Bulls director of rugby Jake White to replace Madosh Tambwe, who is heading to Bordeaux Begles, the pair having first met while the wing was at Jeppe High School.

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Nkosi said he was honoured to be coming to such a proud union and was determined to do the business on the field.

“Jake and I have a relationship that dates back to high school and he actually signed me to the Sharks straight from school. We agree on certain values, which was a big motivating factor to come here,” Nkosi said.

“In a way I’ve come full circle and I want to be part of Jake’s work, dig into his mind a bit. The general mix in the Bulls’ style of play is extremely exciting. They are getting it right.

“It’s always nice to be at a place with a full trophy room and the Bulls have a legendary legacy. I understand the history and that rugby is like the fourth meal of the day here in Pretoria.”