Yaw Penxe rise to Springbok selection is a story of inspiration!

Maxwell Levine

Your hardest times often leads to the greatest moments of your life. Keep the faith, it will all be worth it in the end. When it seems that everything around him was falling apart, when his rugby dream seems to be on the cross roads, when the Southern Kings face liquidation and he and his team mates had no income and had to survive on hand-outs, it’s only the will to succeed and guts that kept him going. This is the story of Yaw Osei Penxe rugby journey.

Penxe’s rugby journey is one of inspiration, a journey that is still unfolding, a journey with a lot of detours, detours that have made him the kind of rugby player he is today. Mental strength and perseverance in chasing that dream, the dream that have finally paid off with a selection to the Springbok extended squad for the British & Irish Lions tour.

The 24-year old, born and bred in Komani and schooled at the famous Queen’s College was left unemployed when the Kings was liquidated, but received a lifeline at the Sharks to revive a seemingly wavering career.

His first break came after he caught the eye during the Springboks Showdown match at Newlands last year after the Kings demise. In that match, the winger excelled. He chased down everything and looking for work and doing everything to score. His aerial dominance and speed of the mark combined with his natural skill set made him a potent weapon.

It was after this game that Bok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick, who ironically coached Penxe with the Junior Boks and at the Kings said, “I know he is a player of great potential and you could see under the high ball he was aggressive. If I was at a coach somewhere, I would take the opportunity to bring him in. I have worked with Yaw since he was 19 at the Kings. I also coached him at the Baby Boks in 2017.”

It was a remarkable change in fortune for Yaw, who took his chances and is at the brink of being a Springbok.

The former Queenian, is a true product of the Eastern Cape, who represented Border twice at the U18 Craven Week and came through the ranks at the Kings academy. He played both Super Rugby and Pro14 and was always one of the stand-out players in a rather dwindling Kings team.

He took his opportunity with both hands at the Sharks, after he was initially given a short-term contract for the Currie Cup Reloaded. After impressing, his contract was extended.

Through the recent Currie Cup, Penxe was described as one of the finds of the tournament, an unexpected club hero. Despite the Sharks having World Cup winners in Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi at their disposal. Mapimpi short stint in Japan also helped Yaw to establish himself as a starter in a star-studded Sharks team. To be able to rub shoulders and play with some of the best talent in South Africa have certainly had a positive effect on him.

As former boss Robbie Kempson said, Yaw is a special talent, we know his strengths as an outstanding attacker and someone who can finish an opportunity when it comes. Whatever the environment he’s in he’ll shine. He’s the type who is determined to keep improving and evolving his skill-set.”

Yaw is one of eight new caps in the Springbok squad. It is this attributes that have left a lasting mark on Boks supremo Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber who are both excited to see the flyer develop.

Yaw Penxe’s story is one of taking your chances, opportunities and use your setbacks to make a greater comeback. A story to inspire any up and coming young rugby player to stay focused and not give up despite your circumstances. Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fall apart, that’s true strength.

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