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Sun Apr 20 21:10:42 SAST 2014

Kanko fights for Bok spot

SBU MJIKELISO | 26 July, 2012 06:350 Comments
Ryan Kankowski said he signed with a Japanese outfit after initially giving up on national selection

SHARKS No8 Ryan Kankowski admitted that he had given up on a regular Springbok place when he decided to sign with Japanese outfit Toyota Verblitz.

But the player said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's decision to include him in the England series last month reignited his desire to fight for the eighthman position.

The 26-year-old had only played four Super 15 matches as a substitute before his Springbok call-up.

He spent almost a year on the sidelines because of injury.

"I made the decision quite a while ago when it looked like I would not be involved in the [Springbok] set-up," Kankowski said.

"I was fortunate that Heyneke gave me a chance to train with the Boks even though I'd been injured for so long. It always helps when a coach says he's going to back you.

"He said that the door was open to show him what I could do."

Kankowski signed a six-month contract with the Japanese team, which has put doubt over his inclusion in next month's Four Nations tournament.

"Who knows? The Boks selectors can still select you if you're that side [in Japan], so it's not like I'm not going to be involved at all," said Kankowski.

"It's just for six months and I'll be back in February next year to play Super rugby again. I've been [at the Sharks] for 10 years now, so the move is just about getting out and getting revitalised so I can come back fresh."

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