Springboks

Nkosi: I'm excited, not nervous

2018-06-08 09:48
Sbu Nkosi (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Springbok debutant Sbu Nkosi says he has no nerves heading into Saturday's clash against England in Johannesburg.

The 22-year-old is one of three debutants named in coach Rassie Erasmus' starting lineup for the clash, with the others being Aphiwe Dyantyi and RG Snyman. 

That means inexperience on both wings, and England are expected to test Dyantyi and Nkosi with a series of high balls. 

Given the disappointments of the last two years and the poor display by the Boks in last weekend's 22-0 loss to Wales, Nkosi could be forgiven for feeling a few butterflies heading into his first Test. 

But, speaking to media on Thursday, he came across as calm and composed. 

"I'm not very nervous. I'm more excited than anything," he said.

"I'm confident in the players around me and they bring confidence out in me. We are very well prepared and there is a lot of attention to detail. I don't feel any nerves as yet."

Nkosi also stopped short of calling this week a 'dream come true'.

"It's not a dream come true yet, it's the beginning of a dream come true. I want to be excellent for the Springboks and I want to do great in that jersey," he said.

"It sounds a bit surreal to say, but I feel that I've always wanted to (play for the Boks). I've never had the doubt in my mind. My mom has always been in my ear because she saw how passionate I was about playing for the Springboks. She never let me have any doubts."

Saturday will also be somewhat of a homecoming for Nkosi, who played his youth rugby at the Lions before making the move to the Sharks in Durban. 

"Ellis Park is a very special stadium in South African rugby and it's even more special to me, personally, because that's where it all started. Ellis Park was always the be all and end all," he said. 

Nkosi had played himself into the Springbok mix under former coach Allister Coetzee last year, but he did not get a cap. 

"It is perfect timing. I'm a more experienced player than I was last year, inevitably. I've learnt some lessons along the way, particularly in this season," he said.

While the high ball will be an obvious challenge, Nkosi added that he had spent the majority of his time with Dyantyi and Willie le Roux getting to know them better. 

He believes that the Boks are prepared. 

"For a young winger the big challenge is to find yourself in the right place at the right times. I think I've done a lot of work on my positioning. That's the biggest area that I've put a focus into," he said.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa 

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant

England 

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona 

Read more on:    springboks  |  sbu nkosi  |  rugby
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