Interview by Liam Poach
Hey all! It's been a while since I posted. Unfortunately, reporting on rugby is not yet a full time gig for me, and I had to put paying for the bacon and beer ahead of taking about rugby with you fine people, but just for a bit. I'm back now, baby.
Since my brief hiatus (other than my appearances on the Earful of Dirt Podcast for those who watch), we've had a whole lot go down in the MLR. New signings, new teams, and a newly crowned champion with the Seattle SeaWolves, who put up a great fight to get the win over Glendale.
Now that we're in the grips of the off-season and fans are already starving for updates and news, I've decided to try a new 'Summer Series' of interviews, highlighting some of the relevant faces around the MLR. For my first installment, I decided to catch up with NOLA's Vincent Jobo, a hard running South African native, who unfortunately lost the entirety of his regular season due to an Achilles injury sustained during an exhibition season game against Austin.
However, those who follow Vince on social media, as well as those who are close to him, understand the young rugby player has overcome a lot worse, and merely sees the injury as just a bump in the road to his achieving greatness. To learn more, read on below.
Liam: What were your feelings when you first sustained your injury? What are your feelings about it now? What has your rehab process been like? How close are you to 100%?
Vince: I was really sad when it happened. I remember it like yesterday. I received the ball, made a strong outside carry and burst through the Austin Elite defense. One of their players back tracked and tackled me from behind. I tried to get up but I could feel something was wrong. Immediately I thought to myself, “Fuck!!! Please no God.” Our physical trainer got to the field and carried me off the field. He felt my Achilles tendon and immediately said "it’s gone." I knew at that moment that’s my season over, and knew I just suffered a possible career ending injury. Right after he said that I just burst into tears. Just thinking about how hard I’ve worked in the off season, all the early mornings and late nights of training, all the sacrifices I made to be where I am and that really hurt me, man. I just cried and cried on the side of the field watching my teammates play.
It’s been three months post surgery now and I’m very positive. My medical team is positive, and it’s healing up really quickly and faster than what we expected. I'm a fighter man, been fighting my whole life. When the injury happened, I had two choices, feel sorry for myself, throw the towel and go back home to South Africa, or FIGHT. It wasn’t easy, but that’s what I do. I fight. Every single day is a fight, man. My head is good space and life is great at the moment. Just enjoying the process of working hard and getting back to doing what I love.
Rehab is going great man. We just working on my mobility and strengthening my leg again. Getting stronger and stronger each day, I’ll be ready to run in a couple of weeks and that’s when the serious work starts. Right now I’m patient, listening to my medical team and doing what’s required of me.
I will be fully fit on November. That is the plan. With the first MLR game kicking off at the end of January 2019, I will be back in time to start my first MLR game. Everything is on track, myself and the medical team have a plan and everything will work out the way it’s suppose to be.
Liam: How do you feel your teammates did on the field this season?
Vince: The team did fairly well considering the amount of injuries to quality players we had on our team. We were our own worst enemies, and lost to nobody else but ourselves. But I hope it was a good lesson for the boys, at this level you just can’t afford to make silly mistakes, cause against good teams, you will get exposed and get punished for every mistake you make.
Liam: Do you think you could have made a big difference in how NOLA’s season turned out?
Vince: Absolutely man, I believe in myself and back myself 110%. I would’ve done everything in my power within the team structures to make sure we could’ve won a couple more games and given ourselves a chance to be in the playoffs. This is a team sport, we all need one another, like I said, we had a number of injuries to key players on the team and I know they would’ve all made a huge difference.
Liam: How do you feel about Coach Osborne and his methods?
Vince: Nate is one of the best coaches I’ve worked with. I mean, I’ve worked with really highly ranked top coaches back home in South Africa, but Nate has really stood out for me. He’s still extremely young as a coach, but his knowledge and insight of the game is wonderful. His methods and way of playing is where the modern rugby era is heading towards. Playing fast, ferocious rugby with excellent ball skills under pressure. Also having the ability to flip the switch and be ferocious and accurate defensively too. The game plan he had suited me as that was the kind of style we played at the Cheetahs in South Africa. I was able to express myself within the team structures on attack, I was given a free role to attack the breakdowns and get turnovers for the team as poaching is one my strengths, and that allowed me to have a good preseason campaign with NOLA Gold. He understands his players strengths and weaknesses and works with that accordingly.
Liam: What’s the level of competition like between what you experienced playing in South Africa vs here in the United States?
Vince: It’s totally different. It’s a lot tougher back home, competing in competitions such as Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. In South Africa, kids are growing up playing rugby you know, it’s mostly in all junior and senior schools where kids can choose to play the sport. And that’s where the difference is over here you know, once we get kids playing from the ages of 6 years and upwards it’s really gonna improve the level of rugby in America once they are older and playing professionally. But all in all, what a time to be alive and playing a part in the growth of American rugby. The sleeping giant is woke, there are amazing athletes here, once they are coached properly and start playing from a younger age, America will become a powerhouse in the very near future.
Liam: I saw you recently celebrated your little sister’s birthday, how important is family to you as a player?
Vince: Family is everything to me man. I lost my mom when I was 16 years old. My dad and my sister are everything to me. She’s got two more years of high school, and I want her to come live with me in America and chase her dreams too.
Liam: Do you have a special connection with other South African players?
Vince: Yeah we all still very tight, even the saffas that came to play over here, we all close. Rugby is a great game man. The lifetime friendships playing this game are just priceless.
Liam: Who is your favorite MLR player not on NOLA?
Vince: I was very impressed with the Seattle scrumhalf, Phil Mack. Good, fast quality service. Good communication to his players, cocky living on the edge like all number 9's should! Haha.
Liam: Would you rather be a Wizard, or a Jedi?
Vince: Wizard for sure!!
Connect With Us on Facebook and Twitter!
Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
Logo Typography Credit: PhotoBucket