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Sbu Nkosi back in training after disappearance

BBC News 09/02/2023
Sbu Nkosi returned to training with The Bulls after taking time away from the game for personal reasons © Vodacom Bulls/Johan Rynners Sbu Nkosi returned to training with The Bulls after taking time away from the game for personal reasons

Springbok winger Sbu Nkosi, who broke contact with his club at the end of last year because of "mental pressures", has returned to training with his Bulls side in Pretoria.

Nkosi, 27, was reported missing by The Bulls in November 2022 after he went "absent without leave" for three weeks.

The player, who won 16 caps and was part of the South Africa squad that lifted the World Cup in 2019, resumed contact in December and said pressure had been "building up for a couple of years".

He has now joined the rest of the Bulls senior squad as they prepare for the resumption of the United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup, and is grateful for the support he has received.

"It took some time but I am happy that I am back where I belong and that would have never been possible without the love and kindness I have received," Nkosi said.

"The overflow of support allowed me to find comfort and confidence in that I am no lesser human being for acknowledging and accepting that I am not okay.

"The support I received allowed me to find my feet again. The only thing I can do now is to pay it forward, so that others can be empowered to know that the sun will rise again, even when it does not look like it."

Bulls Chief Executive Officer Edgar Rathbone described Nkosi's return to the fold as "a joy".

"He returns to a family that has been waiting for this moment with bated breath and we just are extremely blessed to have him run around again," Rathbone said in a statement.

"I applaud his bravery to want to get back up and not only that but to pursue his rugby dream yet again.

"He is a talented player with plenty to offer the world of rugby, and I am confident that his story now transcends rugby more than it may have before."

Nkosi, who was found at his father's house in Emalahleni - just over 100 kilometres east of Pretoria - when he went missing in November, says he is fully committed to the sport.

"Rugby has been everything to me but for a while, because of life, I had lost that connection and needed to take time away so that I can find my centre again and rezone," he said.

"Not many people get this opportunity and that is not lost on me.

"I come back committed and willing to put in the yards as my way of paying back all the support I received.

"It feels wildly refreshing to be able to say I am back and I am raring to go! The fire within is brewing and I cannot wait to set foot in the stadium again."

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