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Ken Borland


CEO says it’s irrelevant whether BBCo houses Nkosi’s rugby career in future as Bok wing is found

Posted on April 13, 2023 by Ken

Whether the Blue Bulls Company houses Sbu Nkosi’s rugby career in future is irrelevant right now, CEO Edgar Rathbone said on Tuesday, because their focus is on making sure the Springbok wing gets the help he needs to solve his personal issues.

Nkosi had been missing from Loftus Versfeld for three weeks, raising fears for his wellbeing and safety, before he was found at his father’s house in Emalahleni (Witbank) on Monday afternoon. Rathbone was among the search party and he had a 40-minute talk with the 26-year-old.

“It was important for me to establish he was okay, safe and unharmed, and to find out where he is at. I was thrilled he was alive but sad to see the state he was in,” Rathbone said on Tuesday.

“We will provide the support he needs, but it’s difficult to put a timeline on his recovery, we need to give him space and get him back to full health. We need to follow the process, for some people it takes one month, for others six months, it depends on the depth they have to go.

“Our goal is to get him back on the rugby field and feeling like the champion he is again. Even if that’s not at the Bulls, it’s our job to get him ready. It’s irrelevant right now whether he plays for the Bulls again or some other team, it’s about Sbu Nkosi the person.

“Our concern is not for Sbu Nkosi the rugby player but for him as a person. He is an employee of the company and being absent without leave for three weeks does have consequences. But at this stage, we’re missing the point if we’re worrying about whether he still has a contract or not,” Rathbone said.

In terms of how the Bulls handled the disappearance of one of their star players, Rathbone said they had to cut their cloth according to the circumstances at the time, but he added “I’m sure mistakes were made along the way, but the player’s reputation also needed to be managed and his safety was a concern as well”.

While both the Bulls and MyPlayers, the players’ organisation to look after their interests, have mental health support measures in place, Rathbone said they would review the overall efficiency of these systems.

The CEO added that he hoped the general public would cotton on to the fact that coarse messaging on social media can lead struggling players into the dumps.

“I would ask everyone to be kind and not to make any remarks that may be harmful to Sbu. If you look at the comments and articles on social media, it’s quite frightening how stones are thrown at people.

“Everyone is going through stuff, no-one is immune to it. I would ask people to have a bit of respect for their fellow human beings.

“Unlike other jobs, our employees win or lose every Saturday and that’s pressure. I know it’s what they signed up for, but if they need help handling it then that support needs to be there,” Rathbone said.

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