Nick Koster was probably the most proficient faculty boy rugby expertise I’ve ever seen amongst forwards, writes Mark Keohane. #RIP brother.
Koster is a rugby brother in each sense. The Bishops No 8 was at his good greatest as a schoolboy and a junior Springbok and completed his profession captaining Cambridge College as an Beginner. He spoke, in one among his final public interviews, concerning the pleasure of novice rugby. He mentioned it was privilege for him to complete his profession loving the sport as an novice, simply as he had began it as a naked foot eight year-old enjoying at 8am on a chilly winter’s morning within the harsh Cape June.
Nick Koster was a sensation as a schoolboy rugby participant. I’d been privileged, within the Western Cape, in my early years of rugby reporting to cowl the faculties beat in Western Province and Boland, which aligned with me protecting the provincial and nationwide beat.
Archie Henderson, iconic as a sport editor, and the late AC Parker, the inspiration to each younger child who wished to be a rugby and cricket journalist, had been disciples of ‘for those who cowl the nationwide beat, you cowl the provincial, membership and faculties beat’. These icons of the sport felt that the simplest activity was to report on and write concerning the Springboks. The problem was to look at the faculties and golf equipment scene and establish the following provincial and worldwide sensation.
At worst, the following provincial and worldwide choice.
The colleges beat in Western Province and Boland was amongst my most favorite assignments within the early a part of my profession. I obtained to report on Percy Montgomery enjoying fullback for SACS, Herschelle Gibbs enjoying flyhalf for Bishops and Corne Krige enjoying flank for Paarl Boys Excessive.
Others would observe, like Paarl Fitness center’s Jean de Villiers, De Moist Barry and Schalk Burger. There was Bolla Conradie from Kasselsvlei in Bellville South and Andries Bekker from De Kuilen after which Paul Roos.
Many great gamers would translate their kind from schoolboy scorching photographs to skilled rugby participant submit 1996.
Pre the conversion to professionalism, there was Bishops and WP and SA Colleges fullback Michael Ehrentraut. What a participant within the junior ranks.
My disclaimer right here is that I dwell in Cape City and my faculty boy rugby publicity is primarily on this province. In at present’s local weather, with the fabulous Tremendous Sport Colleges channel, I’ve an appreciation of the nation’s greatest gamers.
Up to now decade I obtained a style of Damian Willemse, given his constant explosiveness for Paul Roos. He was particular as a schoolboy and shall be as particular as a Springbok.
However particular to forwards, since 1992, I had by no means witnessed a expertise as pure, as good, as explosive, as influential and as rugby vibrant as Nick Koster.
I wrote a characteristic article on the schoolboy Koster for the Weekend Argus in his matric yr the place I likened him to a mix of Bob Skinstad and Corne Krige.
He had scored 36 tries for Bishops in 35 matches, assisted in as many and would translate that to WP Colleges and SA Colleges. He would add Junior Boks to his resume, play for WP as a 19 year-old, and he would play for the famend Barbarians towards the Wallabies at Wembley the identical yr, slotting in as lock with Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins and Schalk Burger the loose-trio.
He would debut for the Stormers as a 20 year-old, with the then Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus selecting him on the wing.
A merciless knee damage completed his season and – in hindsight – completed his profession. He was by no means the identical athlete; the damage was that unhealthy.
He would play 26 matches for WP, 32 for the Stormers, 11 for Tub and 62 for Bristol. He was by no means the Koster destined for a 100 Assessments after his damage, however his rugby mind was nonetheless sturdy sufficient to make him so good enjoying for Cambridge College, as an novice in his ultimate two years of rugby.
He retired an novice winner, as he had began in his wonderful schoolboy profession.
His skilled profession had probably the most emphatic begins, for the Barbarians towards the Wallabies at Wembley, and probably the most inglorious of chapters over the following decade. Skilled rugby, as he mentioned in an interview submit his retirement, was not what he anticipated or what he wished. It was not for him.
He left rugby, by all accounts, fulfilled and joyous at what he obtained to expertise in his ultimate two years at Cambridge.
#RIP Nick Koster – and thanks for these mornings on the Piley Rees and wherever you roamed the Cape in winter.
You had been feared by the opposition, however so revered by those that feared you since you had been that good and so humble.
You had been the very best 18 year-old schoolboy rugby participant I’ve ever seen.