Currie Cup

How Lions wing got his big break

2014-09-19 17:42
Courtnall Skosan (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Lions wing Courtnall Skosan became a professional player after making the most of his big break given to him by former Springbok wing Chester Williams.

Four years ago, Skosan was an Under-20 club player for Durbanville-Bellville in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs. After impressing 1995 World Cup winner Williams during a training session, he was invited to the Safari Sevens tournament in Nairobi, Kenya.

The player knew this was his big break.

"At the time, I hadn't played any provincial rugby, so I was going to make the most of the opportunity," Skosan told the MyPlayers website. "We had some good talent in the squad. A played alongside a guy like Griquas centre Jonathan Francke.

"I managed to do well and scored some good tries. The tournament was televised, so I managed to attract attention. I was then told that the Bulls were interested in signing me up, so I was on my way to Pretoria."

In the same year, Skosan played a key role for Blue Bulls Under-19s, finishing as the top try-scorer in the tournament with nine tries. Although the team lost 26-20 to Western Province in the final, the Cape recruit had proven himself.

He went on to represent Tuks in the Varsity Cup and played senior rugby for the Bulls in the Vodacom Cup for three seasons. He also earned national honours as he received a Junior Springbok call-up in 2011.

"I had a great time in Pretoria with the Blue Bulls as I learned a lot," said Skosan. "I had the opportunity to train with some of the best players in South Africa, and I took in all the lessons and advice that I could, which added to my development.

"Late last year, I had to make a tough decision. The Bulls offered to renew my contract, but I had the opportunity to join the Lions, who were heading back into Super Rugby. What motivated to make the move to Joburg was the opportunity to play regularly and to be part of something exciting. I had the chance to establish myself at the top level."

Skosan impressed during his Super Rugby debut for the Lions this season, scoring four tries and helping the Johannesburg-based team achieve their most successful tournament campaign.

The team's goal now is to take the Currie Cup title. Skosan said there's great confidence among the players in the squad.

"I'm enjoying myself at the Lions. The guys were very welcoming at the start of the year, which helped me to settle in" said Skosan. "Guys like Franco van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe, Warren Whiteley amd Elton Jantjies were some of the senior players who led the team really well.

"Coach Johan Ackermann also deserves a lot of credit after everything the Lions have achieved this season. He's a coach who has big ambitions and he always shows a lot of faith in the team. He believes we can beat anyone on our day, and that motivates us when we run on to the field."

Seeing the recent achievements by the likes of Whiteley, who won the Commonwealth Games gold medal with the Springbok Sevens side and made his Test debut for the Springboks during the Rugby Championship, and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, who made his Test debut for the Springboks in June, has inspired Skosan.

"In the past, the Lions never really had a regular player in the Springbok squad," said Skosan.

"But that is starting to change. Warren's doing really well for himself and we're proud of him.

"I want to continue doing well for the Lions, and I hope one day, I can achieve my dream of playing for the Springboks."

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Read more on:    golden lions  |  currie cup  |  johannesburg ­  |  rugby

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