‘Our jobs are not easy’: Sharks prop Ox Nche on Nkosi’s mental health

Sharks prop Ox Nche during the Cell C Sharks training session at Kings Park on November 29 2022.
Sharks prop Ox Nche during the Cell C Sharks training session at Kings Park on November 29 2022.
Image: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images

Sharks and Springbok prop Ox Nche has emphasised the need for sport stars to regularly check up on each other following the news of fellow Bok player Sbu Nkosi’s battle with mental health.

After he went missing from his Bulls franchise for three weeks, Nkosi confirmed his mental condition was the reason for going missing. He was found at his father’s house in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.

Nche was surprised when he learnt Nkosi, who left the Sharks this year to join the Bulls, was struggling with an issue that has attacked prominent sportspeople around the globe.

“Sbu is a smart guy. He works hard and he knows what he has to do,” Nche said in a Sharks press conference on Tuesday.

“And our jobs are not easy.

“Me and him, we have an understanding of colleagues and we get along off the field too. I think we are pretty good with each other.

“It came as a shock I didn’t expect it but that is the thing about mental health, you don’t see it coming.”

Nche believes players need to be a support base for each other and make an effort to find out how other athletes are doing more often.

“A guy can be coming to work every day, but you never know where his mental state is.

“It came as a shock to me too, but it is part of the mental struggle because it’s not a challenge everyone can see or notice.

“It was definitely concerning for me. It’s a wake-up call to keep checking on each other and seeing how things are.”

After leaving the Sharks, where he was reported to have had disciplinary issues, Nkosi found it tough to break into the Bulls’ starting line-up.

The 2019 World Cup-winner has had disciplinary issues since moving to Pretoria having been sent home from Ireland for missing a Bulls team meeting during their United Rugby Championship tour in October.

Nche and his Sharks side are preparing for their first appearance in the Champions Cup. The Sharks host English side Harlequins at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

The Harlequins have a handful of South African players in their setup, including former Sharks man Andre Esterhuizen, Springbok front rower Wilco Louw and Tyrone Green.

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