Rugby Championship

Kings: Gqoboka deserves Bok call

2014-09-22 15:16
Lizo Gqoboka (Gallo Images)
Port Elizabeth - Lizo Gqoboka is one of three young, up and coming players that have been selected to attend the Springbok Training Camp ahead of their final two matches in the Rugby Championship.

VIDEO: Who is Lizo Gqoboka?

Gqoboka, along with Nizaam Carr, Seabelo Senatla, will join the camp this week.

“They are three promising young players we’ve identified and we’d like to expose them to the Springbok ethos while also having a look at what they can do in training,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

EP Rugby CEO, Charl Crous, said Gqoboka, who is 24 years old, has come through the ranks of Eastern Province rugby and is a shining example of the talent that the region is producing.

“Lizo has shown determination and dedication in everything that he has done, he has worked hard and there is no doubt that he deserves this opportunity,” said Crous.
Gqoboka’s professional rugby career is a story of hard work and passion.

Having never played rugby at school, as the school he went to in his home town of Tabankulu never offered the sport, Gqoboka only started playing when he joined Durban Collegians Sports Club at the age of 19.

He started off playing as a No 8, but moved to prop and it was not long before his talent was recognised and he received an opportunity to play professionally for the EP Kings Under-21 side in 2011.

Crous said this was a positive testament to EP Rugby’s talent identification processes that had been implemented.

“We have also put the necessary support structures in place to develop players, such as Lizo, who have the natural talent and grow them into top class players capable of playing at international level,” he said.

Gqoboka earned a call-up to the 2012 Vodacom Cup squad, making his first team debut against the Border Bulldogs on March 16, coming on as a late substitute. He earned his first start against Free State Cheetahs a fortnight later.

He was initially named in the Kings squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season, but was released to the Vodacom Cup squad and also represented the province in Currie Cup last year.

Gqoboka also spent a brief time at the Sharks for pre-season training prior to Super Rugby season this year to get exposure at Super Rugby level prior to the Kings' return to Super Rugby in 2016.

Gqoboka went on to be selected for the starting line-up for the Eastern Province Kings side to face Wales during their friendly tour match in June. He played for almost an hour in the match and put up a brilliant display against the international side.

He has also been one of the regular starters and stand-out players for the EP Kings during the current Currie Cup campaign.

“Although these players are not formally part of the Springbok squad, they get to experience what it takes at the top level and we get to work with them, even if it’s only for one or two sessions,” said Meyer.

“We know the provinces are in the middle of a rigorous Currie Cup campaign and we appreciate their assistance in granting Nizaam, Seabelo and Lizo the opportunity to work with us. We are planning to do the same in Johannesburg next week,” he said.


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