Lizo Gqoboka hopes Bulls return can help him jump back to Boks

11 May 2018 - 12:29
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Lizo Gqoboka of the Vodacom Blue Bulls is tackled by Billy Meakes of Rebels during the Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix Lizo Gqoboka of the Vodacom Blue Bulls is tackled by Billy Meakes of Rebels during the Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Lizo Gqoboka has finally nailed down a place in the Bulls’ Super Rugby starting lineup but he is not getting ahead of himself.

The Bulls take on the Sharks on Saturday at Loftus hoping to register a double over their bitter South African rivals and boost their slim chances of qualifying for the playoffs‚ and the Springboks prop is going to be vital for their aspirations.

At the beginning of the campaign‚ Gqoboka started most of the matches from the bench but his patience and hard work at training left coach John Mitchell with little choice but to give him an opportunity in the starting lineup.

“As a player‚ you can only control what you can. Coaches make decisions‚” Gqoboka said.

“Mitch [Mitchell] is our leader and we back him. If he says next week I must go back to the bench‚ I will support his decision because at the end of the day it is not only about me as an individual but the team.

“Everyone in the team wants to start matches but you don’t have full control of the situation.

"I choose to be positive whatever the situation is thrown at me and always back the decisions of the coach.

“I just keep on up-skilling myself‚ being motivated and making contributions to the best of my ability whenever I am called upon to play matches.

“I am happy with the contributions I have made so far but I also know that I have to keep on improving every week because I can’t rely on what happened the previous week.”

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will announce the squad soon for the June Tests against Wales and England and Gqoboka does not want to think too far ahead.

“There is always going to be competition in the national team because everyone wants it.

"I just have to give it my best here at the Bulls and if they call me up it will be great because it is my goal to get there‚” he said.

“What I can control is what I do here at the union. All the props have been on form this season and I think the coaches at the Boks will be happy that there is competition.”

Gqoboka is expecting a tough battle in the clash against the Sharks but said the Bulls have an advantage of playing at home n front of their own supporters.

“We are playing at home and that will boost our confidence and hunger to win in front of our own supporters. I think that will work to our advantage.

“Our loss against the Stormers in Cape Town last weekend was just lack of attitude and attention to detail but we have done video analysis and we think we will come up this week.

“You are going to lose some games as a team but the attitude must be there. We didn’t go flat out last week but we will be up against it this week.

“We know what is at stake. The Sharks are doing very well at the moment and we are aware of that.”