Find out more about the sevens star now dazzling in 15s. By Jon Cardinelli
Who is Rosko Specman: Ten things you should know about the Springboks wing
Rosko Specman has excelled in sevens thanks to his footwork and speed, and now he’s putting those same skills to good use in 15s.
The South Africa winger says: “I started out as a 15s player, but I’m the player I am today because of sevens. All my skills and decision-making abilities have been honed in that environment. I’ve learnt how to look for space, to look for the mismatches, to sum up situations.”
Here are a few more facts about Specman, who was picked to make his Test debut aged 32.
Ten things you should know Rosko Specman
1. Rosko Specman was born on 28 April 1989 in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.
2. The nickname ‘Speckmagic’ was given to him by his team-mates at Kingswood College. Since his schooldays, the elusive runner has specialised in conjuring something from nothing.
3. Specman was first recruited by the Sharks in 2010. Unfortunately, he played in only one Currie Cup match across three seasons with the Durban-based franchise.
Many felt that the 1.76m (5ft 9in), 85kg (13st 5lb) winger was too small for top-flight rugby, and he spent the subsequent three years with the Mpumalanga Pumas.
4. Opportunity knocked after he was drafted into the South Africa sevens set-up in 2014. Specman went on to win a bronze medal with the Blitzboks at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He was a key player when South Africa won back-to-back World Rugby Sevens Series titles between 2016 and 2018 too.
5. While he achieved a great deal in the seven-man code in that period, Specman never lost his desire to represent the Springboks at Test level.
In the latter part of his career, he has focused on realising his ambition to represent South Africa in both disciplines.
Specman represented the Cheetahs (in 2017, and again from 2020 to the present), the Bulls (2019 to 2020) and was loaned to the Stormers ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour.
6. After the pandemic-enforced lockdown was lifted in September 2020, Specman was drafted into a Springbok training squad set to play in a trial match at Newlands. His excellent performance gave the coaches food for thought.
7. In early 2021, Specman considered a return to sevens and ultimately one final push for an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games. Then he was selected in the Bok squad ahead of the Tests against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions 2021, so 15s took precedence.
He was selected to make his Test debut against Georgia in July 2021.
8. Specman has played regularly for the Blitzboks at the Cape Town Stadium since the South African leg of the World Sevens Series tournament moved to the Mother City in 2015.
Earlier this year, after a game between the Cheetahs and Stormers, he spoke about why the venue felt ‘like home’. Specman scored a hat-trick in that fixture to boost the Cheetahs to an unlikely win.
9. Specman may well return to the Blitzboks squad later in 2021. Apart from the World Series, the South Africans will be building to a 2022 Sevens World Cup, which will be staged on home soil.
10. One of Specman’s pre-game rituals involves challenging team-mates to a dance-off.
“It gets the juices flowing,” he says. “It relaxes us and gets us into the right mental space.
“The coach enjoys it when he sees us like that. He tells us that a happy team is a dangerous team. That’s when the magic happens.”
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