VIDEO: Jake White's frank revelation of reason for Bok's absence from Bulls team
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said it would be ‘sad’ if the career of World Cup-winning Springbok Sibusiso Romeo Nkosi fizzled out.
He was reacting to a question about the 27-year-old’s future at the Bulls.
Nkosi, capped 16 times by his country including a semifinal win over Wales at the 2019 World Cup, has been unable to make the Bulls’ Currie Cup matchday squad.
Speculation about his future in Pretoria heightened after Nkosi took to social media this week to criticize people – seemingly officials at Loftus Versfeld – who judge him.
His comments followed after he scored a double for the World XV in their 42-48 loss to the Barbarians in an entertaining match at Twickenham at the weekend.
“It was reviving to my passion, to spend a mere week with men who are pure of heart,” Nkosi said in a social media post, adding: “A break from being judged by men who are bigger in their minds than they are in reality.”
White, in his weekly team announcement media briefing, was asked about the comments of the Bok out-of-favour Bok flyer.
He was frank in expressing his ‘disappointment’ of the player’s comments – especially given the lengths the Bulls went to, to assist him during his much-publicised mental breakdown last year.
After lengthy and extensive efforts from the Bulls, in collaboration with a security company, Nkosi was located at the residence of his father in a suburb of Witbank.
At the time both the Blue Bulls Company Chief Executive Edgar Rathbone and the player confirmed that mental health was at the heart of his decision to step away from the game.
However, his career has not regained the heights they had hoped and he has been sidelined recently.
White revealed the reasons for Nkosi’s absence.
“I have children his age,” White said, adding: “I don’t think anyone wants to see someone go from a World Cup winner to not being guaranteed playing rugby.
“He’s a talented player.
“I’m very disappointed with what he wrote on social media.”
White said Nkosi is aware of his feeling about the comments, as they have already had a meeting.
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“Considering the Bulls let him go and play in a game overseas, to [then] read the comments he made was obviously disappointing.”
The Bulls boss said the player has some important decisions to make about his future.
“He’s a big boy now.
“He’s got to make decisions about where he wants to go, and it’s not always in anyone else’s hands other than the player.”
White revealed that Nkosi is not in good enough shape to warrant selection for the Bulls.
“At this point in time, he’s not playing well enough [and] he’s not training hard enough.
“I don’t see him enough for him to warrant selection above guys who have been training in the group anyway.”
White said it is not his place to discuss the player’s future.
“As I said he’s a big boy now, a World Cup-winning Springbok.
“He must make decisions about where he wants to be and make sure those decisions are in the best interests of himself and the [Bulls] team.”
Nkosi and White go a long way back, to his days at Jeppe High School for Boys in 2013 and 2014.
After he lost favour with the selectors at the Sharks, White brought him to the Bulls last year, where it was hoped he would regain his passion for the game.
However, in November he went AWOL, with Blue Bulls Company Chief Executive Edgar Rathbone finding him and convincing him to return to Loftus Versfeld.
It is not clear if his previous mental health issues have resurfaced.