Scarra steers clear of Bok talk
Cape Town - Scarra Ntubeni was probably the next hooker in line to represent the Springboks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
A part of Heyneke Meyer's preliminary squads, the 25-year-old eventually missed out to Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss and Schalk Brits.
But with a new Springbok era just around the corner, the door could open up once more for a man who has flirted numerous times with forcing his way into the green and gold.
But Ntubeni has been here before, and he knows now more than ever that performing for the Stormers this Super Rugby season is his best way of catching the attention of whoever the new Bok is.
Having struggled with injury for the past two Super Rugby seasons, staying fit throughout 2016 appears to be Ntubeni's main aim this time around.
"I am (thinking about Bok selection), but I don’t want to get ahead of myself," Ntubeni said from the Stormers' Bellville training complex on Monday.
"I need to
play well, I need to stay on the field a lot longer this year. I've struggled with
injuries the past two, years ... I’ve hardly played.
"This year is almost like
learning how to ride a bicycle again and I just want to play well for the
Stormers. That’s my main goal at the moment and then we’ll see what happens
With Bongi Mbonambi having taken his chances whenever Ntubeni has not featured, there is now very strong competition for a starting place at the Stormers.
This, according to Ntubeni, will help him stay in prime physical condition.
"That’s how I started getting injured ... I was playing 80
week in and week out and my body broke down," he said.
"But now I feel a lot better ...
even with the trainings. The trainers can manage me because there are other
players and there is depth ... for my body it’s a lot better and I hope I can
last longer this season."
Ntubeni replaced Mbonambi in Saturday's 33-9 win over the Bulls at Newlands. He had a good 20 minutes - scoring a try, finding his lineout jumpers and leading a scrum that bossed the Bulls in the final quarter.
"It’s very rewarding. We do work hard and it’s nice to get
the acknowledgment. It’s a team sport, so if we look good then the backs look
good, and if the backs look good then we look good," he said.
Turning his attention to the Cheetahs this weekend, Ntubeni said the Stormers were very aware of the fact that they have lost in Bloemfontein for the past two seasons.
"You just don’t know what to expect from the Cheetahs ... maybe
our heads were a bit big the past two years. I think we’ve learnt our lesson
now ... we really want to prepare well," he said.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:10.