Springboks

Scarra eyes Springbok debut

2016-05-31 18:48
Scarra Ntubeni (Gallo)

Cape Town - Scarra Ntubeni has been waiting longer than most for a Springbok cap. 

Now just 25-years-old, Ntubeni was first called up to the national side in October of 2013 for a tour of the northern hemisphere under Heyneke Meyer. He didn't play any matches. 

More recently, Ntubeni was a part of the preliminary squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but he lost out to Schalk Brits there. 

A combination of bad luck, bad timing and injury has put the brakes on Ntubeni's international career before it ever got out of first gear. 

Two of the best hookers in world rugby - Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss - occupied the No 2 and No 16 jerseys in most Bok squads under Meyer. 

But now Ntubeni has another crack at earning his debut. 

Named in a 31-man squad for the upcoming Ireland series, Ntubeni is up against his Stormers team-mate Bongi Mbonambi for a place on the bench for the first Test at Newlands on May 11. 

Strauss, named captain on Monday, will start that match. 

"It’s good. There is no animosity or anything. It’s healthy competition between us," Ntubeni said of his competition with Mbonambi. 

"I’ve had that Springbok blazer over my arm now for I think three years so hopefully I can get a chance … if coach approves.

"I’m feeling good at the moment. I don’t have any niggles. It’s been a while since I’ve been injury free."

Mbonambi has been favoured over Ntubeni at the Stormers this Super Rugby season, playing 640 minutes to Ntubeni's 300. 

There was a calf strain that kept Ntubeni out of action for a couple of weeks this season, but he is working hard to put those little niggles behind him.

"It’s been very tough with the injuries. You start to build some momentum and the only way you get better is when you’re on the field," he said.

"It’s been tough playing a few games and getting injured and then having to work for four or five months to get back.

"The past few seasons I’ve only played six or seven games a year … I’ve played 10 already this year so I’m feeling good. My body is feeling fresh-ish at the moment."

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