Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Sanele Nohamba opens up about revival, Bok call-up: ‘I’m enjoying my rugby again’

'The more I enjoy it the better I play, so I think enjoying it has been the best thing for me.'

Sanele Nohamba is back on the Springbok radar once again after he was selected to be part of the 43-man squad for the first Bok alignment camp of the season taking place in Cape Town early next month.

Nohamba is no stranger to the Boks, after he came through the SA youth system as one of a number of promising Junior Boks, but saw his career take a dip, before he reignited his career with his move to the Lions.

Back in 2019 Nohamba and his fellow Sharks scrumhalf at the time Jaden Hendrikse were major rivals battling it out for the starting jersey for both the Junior Boks and their franchise.

Both players were then included in the Bok squad for the British & Irish Lions series in 2021, but while Hendrikse’s career took off, Nohamba’s slipped away as he was eventually passed by Grant Williams both at franchise and national level.

Sanele Nohamba
Sanele Nohamba in training with the Sharks in 2021. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Bok call-up

His move to the Lions has seen a massive turnaround in his fortunes and form, as he has rediscovered the enjoyment of playing rugby, which has now led to him playing some of the best rugby of his career and another call-up into the Bok system.

“I think it was one of the focus points coming up to Joburg. I think the last couple of months at the Sharks I didn’t really enjoy playing as much. I also wasn’t playing as much,” explained Nohamba.

“Coming up to Joburg I came to work hard, to enjoy my rugby and to see what happens. The more I enjoy it the better I play, so I think enjoying it has been the best thing for me.

“I think I am (playing some of his best rugby). But obviously I am still looking to improve. I am still working on the game. You can’t just stick to one level. I am still working on different parts of my game to try and put my best foot forward, and get higher accolades.”

Getting as much out of the alignment camp will now be the goal for Nohamba as he continues to try and take his game to the next level.

“It is a huge honour and privilege for me to be back in the Springbok squad again. I am just looking forward to the alignment camps, to see what the goals are for the year, see where I stand with the coaches and see what happens. So I am just excited,” said Nohamba.

“I just want to learn (as much as possible). To learn their systems, they obviously play differently to how the Lions play and just fit in as best as possible.”

Lions coaches and players

Nohamba believes much of the credit for his fantastic form for the Lions must go to the coaches and his fellow players who have given him the freedom and confidence to express himself and take his game to the next level.

“I think credit goes to the (Lions) coaches and players around me. They give me the freedom to play how I want to play and express myself. So I think I have been doing that, and doing it around guys who back me makes things easier as well,” said Nohamba.

“The focus for me at the moment is to play well for the Lions. Playing well here gives me a chance to be included in the Springboks whenever the chance comes.

“So if I keep improving here and putting in good performances I put my best foot forward to be up for (Bok) selection.”

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