Rugby 30.7.2016 05:00 am

Courtnall Skosan: Juggling a few balls

Courtnall Skosan

Courtnall Skosan

Former Bulls player is putting up a paw for the Lions.

Courtnall Skosan has been hitting the headlines on two different fronts the last few weeks – scoring blistering tries for the all-conquering Lions from the left wing and supporting his beautiful wife, Semone, with her campaign as a finalist in the Mrs SA competition.

Skosan sat down this week to explain his balancing act, while focusing big time on helping his beloved Lions to bring the Super Rugby trophy back to SA shores.

“It’s really exciting times, I want to help Semone where possible, but then I have also been a busy guy the last few weeks,” chuckled Skosan, who turned 25 last Sunday.

Today, the Lions are involved in a Super Rugby semifinal thriller against the Highlanders from New Zealand at Ellis Park – and Skosan’s eyes just light up as he stares you straight in the eye.

“It’s probably one of the more difficult things – not to think about the trophy or the final at home or away – in this competition you have to stay ‘in the next moment’ which is the Lions motto,” said Skosan.

“You have to remain calm and composed and ensure you take it week by week, despite that being a cliché. It can land you straight on your backside and you don’t want that.

“And eventually if we do get that far, we will focus on the Hurricanes or the Chiefs next week.”

Skosan has been one of the more prolific try-scorers for the team and, with nine tries – a mark he shares with Lions team-mates centres Lionel Mapoe and Rohan Janse van Rensburg – has featured prominently in Springbok team discussions. But the former Blue Bull, who joined the Lions in 2014, said the focus was only on today.

“Preparation has gone very well; we have put in very hard work for the past week or two so we are happy that we are on track,” he said. Skosan said that despite the magnitude of today’s occasion, the squad had been very relaxed.

“It’s not so much that the importance of the game hasn’t sunk in; we are too aware how big the game is, but every game has been important to us,” he said. “It’s another game where we have to take it head-on and perform the best way we can, so that’s where it comes from, ‘just another game’.”

Skosan said they were also a vastly improved side compared with the one that went down 34-15 to the Highlanders in Dunedin early in the competition.

“That game was our last on tour and it was a bit of a tough game for us. But as a team we have grown so much since that day and it is something like three, four months ago,” he said.

“We also had the situation where the plane had to turn around because of severe weather conditions, but I don’t think it was a major factor in the game. We just learned a few lessons the hard way and I think we are now a much better team than we were back then.

“At the end of the day there are things that work and things that don’t come off. But it’s about carrying on what you are doing, continuing to work hard on those things you didn’t do all that well, and to do it better every time – or at least improve.

“It’s just another approach this week, against another opponent, and trying to stay with your processes and ensurinf at the end of the day that we get the desired result.”

Last week, Skosan got the ball rolling by scoring the opening try against the Crusaders in the quarterfinal inside the opening two minutes – just the sort of start the Lions were looking for.

“The try was a bit of a shock, but it was a well-planned move and, fortunately, it came off for us, which we were extremely happy about. It was extremely satisfactory to have rounded that move off for the team’s sake.

“Ideally, you want to start every game well. It doesn’t always work out that way, but last weekend against the Crusaders it did come off and it worked pretty well on the day,” Skosan said.

“The Highlanders have a dangerous back three, but I take all opponents very seriously. At this level you have to have respect for everyone – and All Black players at the back are guys with flair and who always bring that little bit extra to the game.

“Every time they get going, they are extremely difficult – but it’s a challenge that we have to accept and see what happens.” And there’s still the husbandly support duties for wife Semone …

– rudolphj@citizen.co.za

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