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Sibusiso Nkosi saga: Where to next?

OPINION: It would be a travesty to see one of South Africa’s most talented wings fall victim to mental illness writes @rugby365com contributor Angus Opperman.


The Bulls released a statement on Monday that troubled Springbok wing Sibusiso Nkosi’s contract has been terminated with immediate effect on a mutual agreement by the two involved parties.

Nkosi, a World Cup winner had left the Sharks to join the Bulls on July 1, 2022, which was a move that was highly celebrated in the Pretoria rugby circles but soon turned sour.

During his time at the Bulls, Nkosi went missing for three weeks without leave and without a trace. It took the joint efforts of the Bulls and a security company as well as a plea to anyone from the public to give any information that could help with his whereabouts.

He was eventually tracked down at his father’s house in a suburb of Witbank where it came to light that he’s been struggling with mental health issues.

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Support from the Bulls

Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone came out and offered the union’s full support to Nkosi.


“He is an employee of the [BBC] company and being absent without leave for three weeks does have consequences.

“However, at this stage, we are missing the point if our concern is whether he is going to have a contract at the Bulls or not.

“We have a player with mental health issues and going through a really rough patch. Our concern is how to get him on his feet again.”

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The possible final straw

The Bulls continued to throw their support behind Nkosi despite the fact that there were some days he didn’t pitch for training after marking his return to the Bulls side, scoring a try against the Stormers in a losing effort.

He was granted permission to play for the Barbarians, but what followed might just have been the final straw for the Bulls after Nkosi posted an Instagram picture captioned:

“It was reviving to my passion, to spend a mere week with men who are pure of heart. A break from being judged by men who are bigger in their minds than they are in reality”

This didn’t go down well with Director of Rugby Jake White

“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.”

Where to next?

The question is, now that he is a free agent, where to next for the troubled wing?

White previously suggested that an overseas stint might do him good and it might hold merit considering that he enjoyed his time with the Barbarians.

Another unconventional option might be to join a smaller union such as the Griquas, Pumas or Cheetahs just to get him back to enjoying the sport again.

The third option could be to join the Springbok sevens team, which is known for its close-knit brotherhood culture on and off the field and not having the full-time pressure to perform week in and out for most of the year as is the case with most 15’s teams.

Whatever his decision may be, one could only hope it is the right one for him on a personal and professional level.

It would be a travesty that one of South Africa’s rising and most promising stars was to fall victim to mental illness.

Angus Opperman

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