Border loose forward Nkosikhona Nofuma says the players in East London are proud of their team-mates featuring in the Southern Kings squad, while Lukhanyo Am is proof of the rugby pedigree in the region.
At the start of the season, Southern Kings made an announcement that excited Border rugby as speedster Makazole Mapimpi and fullback Masixole ‘Coyi’ Banda were included in their final squad. Both players have gone on to be regular starters for the Eastern Cape franchise, with Mapimpi scoring three tries in four appearances this year.
At the Sharks, centre Lukhanyo Am – who played for Border between 2012 and 2015 – has also impressed for the Durban side in the No 13 jersey this season. He’s been energetic with ball in hand, while being effective on defence – a huge improvement after spending a season with the Southern Kings in 2016. A highlight of the 2017 season was when Am scored a late try to earn the Sharks a 27-22 win against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The 23-year-old’s impressive form was rewarded when he was included in the Springbok extended squad announced on Monday.
Loose forward Nkosikhona Nofuma said these players have inspired their team-mates and friends back home at Border.
“It’s amazing to see our own performing so well in a big competition like Super Rugby,” Nofuma told MyPlayers. “We have played with all three players, who have developed their rugby on the training pitch we work on. This inspires us to believe we can go on and achieve greater things if we work hard for it.
“Both Makazole and Masixole are doing well during their first season of Super Rugby. It’s not an easy step-up for some players, but they have done really well so far.
“It’s also great to see a guy like Lukhanyo achieve amazing things after all the hard work he’s put in. It’s not common for a Border player to rise through the ranks like he has. To have made the SA “A” side last season and now making the Springbok training squad… he makes everyone at Border really proud.
“We need guys like Makazole, Masixole and Lukhanyo, who will inspire the current and future generations of Border rugby.”
Meanwhile, Nofuma said Border is excited to kick-off the season as the players have worked hard at training in recent months.
“It’s been a long pre-season and we’re excited to get back on to the field,” said Nofuma. “Some guys have kept active by playing some club rugby, while others have played in the Varsity Shield. We’re looking forward to coming together as a team and playing well in all domestic competitions.
“We’ve proven in recent seasons that we can compete with some of the best. Teams who travel to East London realise that it’s no easy walk in the park and they will have to play really hard to steal the win from us.”
By Gareth Duncan