Sbu Nkosi training with the Bulls. (Photo supplied by the Bulls)
The Bulls have confirmed that Springbok winger Sbu Nkosi has returned to training with the team.
Nkosi, 27, had been reported as missing by the Bulls in December after he disappeared from the radar for three weeks.
He was eventually found at his father’s house in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, where he admitted he was battling with his mental health.
On 19 January, Nkosi broke his silence when he posted on social media, saying he was eyeing a comeback to rugby “soon”.
His return was confirmed by the Pretoria franchise on Thursday, as the team assembled at Loftus Versfeld following a two-week break.
READ | Bulls confirm Jake White is back at Loftus: ‘His influence on everyone is immeasurable’
Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone welcomed Nkosi back.
“What a joy it is to have Sbu back amongst us and more so because we know the difficult journey he has gone through to get back on his feet. 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.
“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. His story inspires many amongst us as the Bulls family and I hope that many South Africans and rugby fans across the globe will look at him and be encouraged to get up and try again whenever they tumble,” Rathbone said in a statement.
Rathbone said the next step was for Nkosi to regain his match fitness.
“Sbu has some time to spend with the high-performance team to make sure that his integration into the environment is done accordingly, but there are no better specialists in sports science than those we have working with us. So I am comfortable that he is in the best hands possible.
“Of course, there is the temptation to want to fast-track things and focus on a return-to-play timeline, but that is not important right now. We are just happy to have him with us and as the process takes care of the business, I am confident that we will see him running out soon” Rathbone concluded.
Nkosi expressed gratitude for the support he received from the Bulls.
“Firstly, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the team, the Bulls family and the people of South Africa who have shown me unwavering support over these last few months. 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.
“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 and 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.
“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. Thankfully, the company and team, Edgar and Jake (White) allowed me that time to be away and it has meant the world of good for me, my family and my health. 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.”
Meanwhile, White also return to his post on Thursday. The Bulls director of rugby was off for a month after undergoing emergency surgery in January when a blood clot caused problems with his small intestine.
ALSO READ | Jake pens open letter after health scare: ‘Sport is not life and death, your next heartbeat is’
The Bulls are next in action when they host the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday, 18 February.