Sbu Nkosi Springbok Bulls

Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi will start on the wing for the World XV in their Killik Cup match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday. Photo: Twitter

Bok wing Sbu Nkosi still battling with off-field issues

Bulls and Bok wing Sbu Nkosi apparently ‘comes and goes’ from training, and a move overseas has been recommended.

Sbu Nkosi Springbok Bulls

Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi will start on the wing for the World XV in their Killik Cup match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday. Photo: Twitter

After disappearing without any word in December, Nkosi was eventually found after a worrying search, having ultimately been tracked down at his father’s house in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.

Nkosi ultimately revealed he had been contending with severe mental health battles after going missing for a few weeks once again.


Previous attempts to assist him in finding help for mental health issues seemingly hadn’t worked out as hoped, and his once flourishing rugby career was somewhat put on the backburner before recently returning to action for the Bulls.

However, some concerns have recently arisen once again after Nkosi was seen to be “missing” from some training sessions, but Bulls coach Jake White has now explained to Sport24 that the situation is extremely complex.

“Sbu is here, he’s training now, but he comes and goes,” White told News24 exclusively. “It’s one of those things where you can’t put pressure on him when he’s not here because you don’t know what he’s going through.

“He could be missing Monday and Tuesday, and you can’t be hard on him because he could be struggling. It’s one of those really difficult situations, unless you really know what’s going on.

“And he doesn’t share that, which we also respect. You can’t force that out of someone. He’s got a full-time psychologist who works with ours. Edgar [Rathbone, Bulls CEO] speaks to his dad a lot. It’s not like he’s in the wilderness; there is definitely communication, but you can’t push too hard.”

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White added that he felt Nkosi desperately needed guidance and perhaps a fresh start overseas.

“I’ve spoken to his agent, and my honest feeling is he needs to find something overseas. I think he’s mixed up here or he’s in a net here, but I don’t have evidence of anything,” said White.

“When he was at the Sharks [the disappearance] happened and it happened here. I’m not sure if he doesn’t need to get away and start again.”

Towards the end of January, Nkosi shared an emotional and poetic post to his social media, expressing his desire to get matters back on track.

“I put seeds in the ground to reconnect with Mother Nature and her process,” Nkosi wrote. “They gave me fruit. I put time into my daughter to get closer to her. And her smile is my reward. I reached into the future. And connected the path.

“I’m only concerned about proving my supporters right, positivity, about generational wealth, physical and mental health alongside the social welfare of my people as a whole. Anything outside those parameters is unappreciated.

“I’d like to thank you, everyone that extended a hand and a prayer. I’d like to thank my team, Blue Bulls, for their support in every way and a special thanks to (Bulls CEO) Edgar (Rathbone).

“Thank you to my people. I’m working hard and I’ll be back soon to make up for lost time in a crazy way. Much love.”

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Nkosi has said he is still in love with the game

In one of the few public interviews Nkosi gave after his disappearance, he suggested that he wasn’t ready to give up on the game.

“I’m still in love with the sport. It runs through my veins,” Nkosi said. “Those are the moments that I hold onto that give me light.

“But we don’t only spend time on the field. I don’t think that will ever die. There’s many of them. But at this point, before I can be a rugby player, I need to be a functioning person. The human being is more important than the rugby player.”

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Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi Photo Steve Haag
Bulls and Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi. Photo: Steve Haag.