0 Comments The Nick Koster interview

Article written by the brilliant Sean Lloyd on the 09 Oct 2007

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Nick Koster at speed.

I have been hearing stories for a while on the Bishops rugby captain, and for a while I was unsure who this was. However, as time has gone by, the name Nick Koster has come up more and more often in conversations, and I could not let this slide anymore! I had to find out a little bit more about the man we know as Nick Koster, the Bishops First Team rugby captain.

The last time I spoke about a distinguished sportsman from Bishops, was the time I wrote spoke about Dugald McDonald (Click for link), also a Bishops Old Boy, Springbok rugby player and all round iron man.

However this time I’m talking about the name that has everyone excited, even people who don’t religiously follow rugby. It’s always exciting finding out about the upcoming talent this country has to offer, and I think a player in the form of Nick Koster definitely can be regarded as upcoming talent.

I last saw him play in the final match of the season against Rondebosch Boys High School, where Bishops won the game and Nick did not have a good game at all. I was then put in touch with Nick Koster through Jason Mitchell of Bishops, and this is the interview.

SLXS readers, I present to you, Nick Koster:

Age: 18

Height: 1.94 metres

Weight: 105 kilograms

Speed: Ran the hundred metres in 11 seconds flat on grass and into the wind at the Triangular this year. That is nothing but scary!

Sean: Nick, from what I have learned, Nick Mallett and Jake White have pinpointed you as the next big thing in South African rugby and you signed a Western Province contract when you were 16 years old. What sort of pressure does this put on someone your age, where you are trying to concentrate on school work, a social life and living up to the expectations that seem to have been put on you?

Nick: I am lucky in that pressure and expectation is something that pushes me to do greater things rather than breaking me down. I love pressure, and in fact need it to fulfill my goals. I have learnt that I need a balance in my life, where I work hard and play hard.

When I am in the classroom or studying, I try to do so with complete commitment when I can, and when I get out onto the training field, all else is forgotten and I work on becoming a better player, by learning something new or improving even just one little aspect of my game. As much as I value great coaches like Nick Mallett and Jake White’s opinions, I do not really use that to assess where I am.

I don’t use words that they have spoken to assure myself of any success in the future or even that I have achieved in the past. I merely use their words as an encouragement in that I have already got a ‘name’, I just need to do my talent justice.

Sean: I think that in most peoples lives, they reach a point where they realise that they are truly good at something, and not in an arrogant sense, but rather a sense of knowing that they have a talent for something. Did you ever reach a point where you could confidently say to yourself “I really am a top class rugby player?”

Nick: I am completely against arrogance and I don’t agree with people that are arrogant. That said, I have to admit that I have confidence every time I run onto the field that I have the ability to be better than my opposite number. To me it is not about what you have achieved, but rather how you are playing in accordance to your talent. I truly believe that I can be a much better player by alternating a few things in my mind. I know where my weaknesses are and I need to work on them, and once I have no more weaknesses in the game, I will tell myself that I am a top class rugby player.

Sean: We know that any sports person can succumb to injury, often injuries that end careers. We also know that a lot of players are becoming wiser these days, and actually studying on the side to make sure that their lives are set up in case of a serious injury, and for when they retire from sport. What are your plans for out of the rugby scene, if any?

Nick: I want to use rugby to give me a jumpstart in the business world. The thing is, everyone knows who Schalk Burger is, but not everyone knows who the top business man in the country is. I am studying next year along with my rugby, but I cannot attend lectures so I will have a difficult task in keeping up with the work. Nevertheless, getting a degree is important to me as making it in rugby is, and that is what I want to do.

Sean: What is the support like from from the other players in your Bishops team, regarding your future career prospects? Is it encouraging or are there some people who are jealous?

Nick: You always get people who are jealous and that is something that you need to live with. Jealousy is something we all have, and I accept that some people are jealous. With regards to my team, they have been incredibly supportive on and off the field. On the field they have realised that I need to be ‘protected’ somewhat in schoolboy rugby as a lot of teams were out to kill me.(Not literally, readers……Editor) It is encouraging having people who support you and back you, especially through the difficult times, and the jealous people really don’t bother me.

Sean: You played your last game for Bishops with an injury, and you did not have your best game. How was the decision taken to let you play, and was your injury serious that it warranted you maybe not playing at full capacity?

Nick: It was always going to be a big call, as I was not nearly fit to play. And even though I had a shocker, I do not regret the decision to play at all. It was an awesome victory, one I will never forget and I was always going to sacrifice that little bit for my team.

I knew that I would not be at my best, and accepted that beforehand, but I told myself from the beginning that I would not make any excuses whatsoever, because it was my decision to play, and that I would go out and try my best, even though my groin was giving me a lot of trouble.

I like to believe that I am a team man, and that was the least I could have done for a team and school that I am extremely passionate about.

Sean: I was taking a drive through Rondebosch Boys High School before the Bosch/ Bishops derby this year, and at break times you see lots of kids eating junk food from the tuck shop and this is quite a common trend amongst school kids. How does your diet differ from the average school kids, and what do you avoid?

Nick: I try to avoid fats where I can, but my diet really should be better. You have to watch what you eat as your muscles need good nutrition to cope with the heavy work load you expect from them.

Sean: Nick, are there any specific supplements that you use to help increase your performance such as protein, glutamine, creatine or anything of the sort?

Nick: You have to use supplements as it is difficult to get everything you need out of the food you eat every day. I do use protein and I am looking to go onto creatine in the future maybe as it does help you in just getting that little step up. I try to be as natural as I can, but I do realise the importance of supplements.

Sean: If you were on the fringes of Springbok selection and you were offered an overseas contract would you consider it?

Nick: No, my dream has always been to play for the Springboks and I believe that that is something that money cannot buy. I do suppose that one can never say never, but I want to reach my goal of one day putting on the green and gold, and I don’t believe that anything can stand in the way of that if I do reach that level, in terms of money that is.

Sean: Why do you think so many talented schoolboy rugby players leave school and then never make it at the top level of the sport?

Nick: I believe they are not managed well. Rugby is something that can be taken away from you in a split second on or off the field due to injury, so it is not the safe option. Every player that goes for it is risking a lot, and some talented youngsters are not willing to risk a career in business to pursue a rugby career, thus they give it up.

Sean: Do you know of any other talented rugby players that we should look out for coming through any of the Cape Town school?

Nick: There are plenty of talented players to look out for, but from the Cape Town schools I know that my fellow team mates Greg Mallett and Michael Nel from Bishops are special. I haven’t really seen enough of the players from schools such as SACS and Rondebosch, but those two players have what it takes to take their game to the next level.

Sean: Nick, to end off, do you feel any major pressure to succeed after what you have achieved at school boy level?

Nick: Any pressure that I am under is the pressure that I put on myself, and not the pressure put on me by other people or the media. I do not feel like I have to make it in rugby, but for me to use the talents that I have been blessed with to be the best player that I can be is really important.

What I have achieved at school boy level is a mere taste of what is to come. I am not going to settle for what I have achieved, I want to be much greater. In a completely modest way, I believe that people have not seen me perform yet. Just as life is short, so is a rugby career, and I am going to make the most of mine, squeezing out every last bit of talent that I have been given.

I think from looking over that interview, Nick is definitely going to go onto bigger things. With not a hint of arrogance, but pure confidence and determination, we truly are seeing something great unfold before us.

He has already proved beyond doubt that he is talented, and even the big names in South African rugby are agreeing that he has what it takes. But this is not making Nick Koster sit up and take it easy, he is determined to show us an even better side of him. And that is something to take note of.

Sean Lloyd