DURBAN – Curwin Bosch’s elevation up the South African rugby ladder continues with his inclusion in the extended Springbok training camp to be held from April 2-4 in Stellenbosch.
It is the second of three camps conducted by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, and while it is not inclusive of players on Super Rugby duty overseas, the composition of the 41-man squad gives an indication into the thinking of Coetzee as the three-Test series against France in June approaches.
Coetzee has rewarded Super Rugby form and a notable absentee from the camp, which will comprise of Sharks, Stormers and Lions players, is Faf de Klerk.
The scrumhalf was the toast of the town last year, but has fallen from grace at the Lions and now also at the Springboks, while Sharks No 9 Cobus Reinach has been included despite his announcement earlier this year that he will be joining English club Northampton at the end of Super Rugby.
Veteran scrumhalf Jano Vermaak (Stormers) has also been picked.
Bosch has been sensational for the Sharks thus far in Super Rugby, mostly at flyhalf in place of the injured Pat Lambie, and each week he amasses ever more points with the boot, often winning matches for the KZN side.
The 19-year-old from the Eastern Cape has played for the SA Schools team and two years of SA Under-20 rugby, and will turn 20-years-old on 25 June, the day after the third Test against France. What are the chances of him having played for South Africa the day before?
They seem to be improving every day as he takes his chances at the Sharks.
No players from the Bulls or Kings were considered for the camp because these two franchises will be on tour.
Bosch is one of 13 Sharks players invited to the camp after Durban-based players were unavailable for the first camp. The balance of the squad is made up of 10 players each from the Lions and Stormers, plus eight Cheetahs players.
No overseas-based players were considered in adherence to Regulation 9 of World Rugby. Also, lock Franco Mostert is not available as his wife is due to give birth to their first child.
Lambie, Uzair Cassiem and Ruan Combrinck have been invited to the camp, but injured players such as Damian de Allende and Jean-Luc du Plessis (Stormers), who made the trip to the previous camp in Johannesburg, are not required to do so again.
SA Rugby has identified five “young guns”, all under the age of 23, as potential future Springboks and they will train with the squad. They are Ox Nche, Wilco Louw, Ruan Ackermann, EW Viljoen and Bosch.
Coetzee said he and his coaching staff are looking forward to continuing their preparation work with the extended training squad.
“The first camp was very successful and we managed to cover a lot of our planning and training plans with the group. We aim to do the same in Stellenbosch,” said Coetzee.
With a third camp planned for May, there is still time for players to catch the attention of the selectors, according to Coetzee. “There is still one more camp to follow after Stellenbosch, so we will keep the door open for players who perform in Super Rugby,” he said.
“The camp provides another opportunity for us to cast the net wider and also to have a closer look at certain positions. There are a couple of new faces in this group who have shown consistently good form.”
During their three-day stay in Stellenbosch, the group will undergo medical and conditioning assessments, attend gym and undergo training sessions.
Springbok Training Squad (*denotes Young Guns)
* Ruan Ackermann, Ruan Botha, Uzair Cassiem, Ruan Dreyer, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, *Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, *Ox Nche, Coenie Oosthuizen, Etienne Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Warren Whiteley.
Lukhanyo Am, Clayton Blommetjies, * Curwin Bosch, Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Pat Lambie, Dillyn Leyds, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Raymond Rhule, Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Wyk, Jano Vermaak, Francois Venter, Shaun Venter, *EW Viljoen, Fred Zeilinga.