S’bu Nkosi could miss Saturday’s Springbok test against Wales in Cardiff due to passport and visa problems.
He is still in South Africa, and it is doubtful that he will manage to join his Bok team-mates overseas before tomorrow, at the earliest.
While his passport is valid, an informed source says he does not have enough clean pages in it to be able to apply for a Schengen visa and must first apply for a new passport.
SA Rugby is now waiting for Nkosi’s necessary travel documents before he can fly. He has already had his Covid-19 test, but it is unlikely that he will fly out before tomorrow.
He was instructed by SA Rugby in June to get his passport in order, but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, among other things, the 25-year-old player did not manage to get everything done.
“It’s been an abnormal year with Covid-19. You have to understand that something like this can happen.
An informed source said:
“In these disrupted times, it’s understandable that things go wrong, but this [the passport and visa issue] was still his responsibility and he’s an adult. He should have made sure everything was in order.”
Nkosi’s visa problems have posed unexpected challenges for Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus, who have already held a training camp in Paris with a group of about 20 players and participated in World Cup activities with a view to heading to the 2023 tournament in France.
About 12 other overseas-based players who are still playing club rugby join the Boks today.
In the absence of the injured Cheslin Kolbe, Nkosi did an excellent job in the Rugby Championship. His performance under the high balls was an especially outstanding feature of his game, while he is also known for the way he rounds off and for his fearless defence.
He was regarded as the first-choice right wing for Saturday’s test at the Millennium Stadium.
With the likelihood that he will miss the test, Nienaber and his team will need to make new plans with their backs, as South Africa is already having to make do without the injured Kolbe.
However, the Boks’ coaching staff will only make a decision about this when they are sure whether (and when) Nkosi will join his team-mates before the test against Wales.
Apart from the uncertainty about his availability and Faf de Klerk’s injury, notmany changes are expected this week from the Boks’ 23-man squad who played against the All Blacks.
Consistency in team choices is the Boks’ motto on tour, as South Africa have only played in 10 tests since the 2019 final of the World Cup.
The Boks also only have one week as a group of 32 players to prepare together for the test against Wales, because the English, Irish and French club players will still play for their relevant clubs this weekend.