Super Rugby

Bulls prop Gqoboka firmly in Springbok picture

Lizo Gqoboka (Gallo Images)
Lizo Gqoboka (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - There hasn't been an awful lot to get excited about in the South African conference of Super Rugby this year, with all four local sides struggling for consistency. 

It has resulted in an incredibly congested conference log, with just six points separating the Bulls in 1st and the Lions in 5th.

There are, however, several individual success stories and that becomes all the more important in a World Cup year with Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus looking on. 

Dillyn Leyds and Herschel Jantjies have commanded attention at the Stormers, Makazole Mapimpi and S'bu Nkosi have done the same at the Sharks while there are a host of Lions youngsters looking to make their mark too. 

In Pretoria, though, the name on everybody's lips is that of loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka

The 29-year-old has been in bulldozing form for the Bulls this season and he was at it again in Saturday's 28-21 win over the Waratahs at Loftus. 

With Tendai Mtawarira and Steve Kitshoff the men likely to be entrusted with the loosehead responsibilities at this year's World Cup in Japan, Gqoboka must be considered next in line and he will desperately want to be included in Erasmus' plans for this year's shortened Rugby Championship following the completion of Super Rugby. 

"I hope so," Gqoboka said when asked about the possibility of earning a Test cap this year.

"But for me my centre of attention is on getting better every day. If it comes, then that's great.

"I'd say I'm getting better. That's the focus on an everyday basis, not only on the weekends. I try and get better every day and I'm glad we're starting to see the fruit of that now."

Gqoboka's prop partner and the fit-again Trevor Nyakane is also receiving high-praise from pundits currently and his ability to play both loosehead and tighthead could work in his favour for a Bok recall this year. 

"It's a pleasure to have them in the squad. Both of them at this stage are world class," coach Pote Human said.

"I'm not the Springbok coach and I can't pick them in the side, but they won't let the Boks down and that we can all see.

"Last week against the Stormers, today against the Waratahs ... at this stage they are just in great condition."

Captain Handre Pollard agreed.

"Our scrum was absolutely outstanding. It basically won us the game," he said after the Waratahs match.

"Getting penalties from scrums when we were looking to exit were massive moments in the game and the guys really stepped up."

It is not only Gqoboka's scrummaging that has been impressive, though. He has also been menacing with ball in hand. 

"It's very important. As a loosehead nowadays you have to almost be a loose forward. It's not just scrumming anymore, so that is a big focus," he said.

The Bulls are next in action on Friday when they host the defending champion Crusaders at Loftus. 

Kick-off is at 19:10.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24