The Vodacom Bulls are proud of their Springbok winger S’bu Nkosi for standing up from the mental issues that have plagued him and believe more players need to speak out.
Nkosi returned to the side after an absence of three months after going missing in November before being found at his father’s house in Mpumalanga.
While the player was given time off to deal with the issues he was facing, his return to Loftus Versfeld has been a welcome boost for a side that is desperate to win their Vodacom United Rugby Championship derby against the DHL Stormers this coming weekend.
PRESSURE PLAYS A PART
Cornal Hendricks, who himself missed three years of the game with a heart ailment, told the media that the team were “proud” of Nkosi for getting through this tough time.
“It’s nice for us to have S’bu back. We know his talent and what he can bring to the squad. Obviously it was sad for us as a team what he went through as a player and a human being. He is S’bu the human first and then S’bu the player,” Hendricks explained.
“Sometimes you don’t understand the pressure that rugby comes with. All the things that people say, like we earn a lot of money etc. It is not all of that, it is about your mental health as well. I’m so proud of S’bu for getting help and coming to us and apologising to the team.
“He said whenever anyone needs to speak out, he is there. He has a shoulder for anyone who wants to come talk to him. It is always good to have a teammate back and I’m so glad he is S’bu again.
“Sometimes we all need to take a step back and realise who we are as human beings and who we are in this world. I’m proud of S’bu.
“We as a team, and we as a union welcome him back with open arms because we know what he can do for us as a team.”
Hendricks added that he was looking forward to sharing a coffee with Nkosi to talk further on how they could support each other in these tough times.
“I also said because I went through a bad time in my life as well as a rugby player - three years out of the game. I didn’t see anyone at the time and I thought I was fine, but it was tough for me. Sometimes these things catch up to you later in life. Now I realise if you talk to someone you can make it lighter on yourself to speak out and be yourself again.
“I offered S’bu help as well, and I also want to have coffee with him. I want to hear his story. We all have a story to tell, we all have a testimony.
“If you went through stuff, and you want the world to know what you went through, because you want the world to know what you went through. If things settles after a couple of games, I want to have a coffee with him and ask him what his battles were. I want to give him a shoulder as a brother and a player, and I want to speak to him about whatever I go through as well.”
Nkosi said in an interview released by the Bulls on youtube that he was “feeling myself again.”
'SHADOW OF THE MAN'
"My spirit is revived," Nkosi said.
"I almost felt like a shadow of the man that I was supposed to be. And I needed to take a step back to fix that before it became a problem.
"There's no specific moment I can point to where it all began but I do think there are significant triggers along the journey. This absolutely vile energy building up. It all started back when I was at the Sharks, in the last few months of my stint there.
“And then I came here to this beautiful environment you know and it got me up, it got me up. There were amazing players, good coaches and the people upstairs also here for us. It lifted me. And at some point everything just started becoming heavy again."
At some point, bad luck would compound on top of each other, it’s like I was fighting, there was negative energy … things started to spiral.”
The Bulls have been mum on whether Nkosi would be considered for the Stormers game or whether they would give him more time before selecting him again.