Port Elizabeth - EP Kings prop Lizo Gqoboka
says he has made the necessary changes on and off the field after the lessons
learned during his time with the Springboks last year.
Gqoboka was one of the standout performers
for the Kings in 2014, and was rewarded with invites to train with the
Springboks during the Rugby Championship and before the end-of-year tour to
This was a massive moment for the Mount
Frere local, who only started playing rugby after school, and fuelled his
ambition to become a Springbok in the near future.
During his time with the national squad,
the 24-year-old got the opportunity to be roommates with one of his rugby
heroes, Springbok and Sharks prop Beast Mtawarira.
Gqoboka said Mtawarira's advice helped him
make the necessary adjustments to achieve his main goal.
"I definitely want to become a
Springbok. One day, I want to be part of the Amabokoboko!" Gqoboka told
MyPlayers.co.za. "The Springboks have an amazing environment, and I felt
welcomed by all the players. There were so many experienced players to learn
from, but I really enjoyed my time with Beast.
"He plays in the same position, and
has been a consistent performer at the highest levels over the years. He was
very helpful and always went out of his way to help me when needed. The main
lesson learned was to pick up positive daily habits, which will create my path
to become a Springbok... to become a Springbok and remain a Springbok.
"I learned that on and off the field,
I need to work hard, remain humble and to be disciplined. I have already
changed my diet plan and I'm training hard to improve my fitness and
With these positive changes, Gqoboka is
excited about the season ahead. The EP Kings will have one more season to
prepare for their return to Super Rugby in 2016.
"We have two tough domestic
competitions ahead of us, and we need to prove ourselves," said Gqoboka.
"We will be gunning for the Vodacom Cup title. Once that is over, we will
shift our focus to making the Currie Cup playoffs.
"While it wasn't a highly successful
Currie Cup campaign last year, it was an amazing experience. In that first game
against Western Province, we had a young squad, with nine players making their
Premier Division debuts. We now know what to expect.
"We will rely on the experience of
guys like Luke Watson, Ronnie Cooke, CJ van der Linde and Edgar Marutlulle. (Head
coach) Carlos Spencer has also been amazing. He has set his structures, but he
allows us the freedom to make our own choices within those structures. He backs
us and trusts our abilities to do the job on the field.
"If we can fix the mistakes we made last
season, and learn from them, we can achieve our goals in 2015 and be
well-prepared for Super Rugby."
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