DURBAN - The Sharks are in for a battle against the Pumas on Friday night, and it is not just because there will be 10 Covid-19-affected players missing from their ranks.
This is the warning from flyhalf Curwin Bosch, the match-winner that this season has made a habit of kicking his team out of jail.
The dogged Pumas have made life difficult for all of the top sides in Super Rugby Unlocked, and even last week the champion Bulls did not have it all their own way in their 21-5 win over the team from the Lowveld.
“The Pumas are a side that never goes away,” Bosch said. “They won the second half of their match against the Bulls (it was 21-0 at halftime).
“It is really important to start well against them. You have to assert yourself in the first 20 minutes of the game, otherwise you will have a long day at the office.”
The Sharks are desperate for a win in the opening round of the Currie Cup after their final Super Rugby Unlocked match, against the Stormers, was cancelled, leaving the Durbanites four points adrift of the Bulls on the Currie Cup log.
“We have plans to make sure we hit the ground running in that first half against the Pumas,” Bosch said. “We need to come out and perform well in the first 40 minutes so that it is more comfortable for us from then onwards.”
Bosch describes himself as being “in a very good space” after an exceptional Super Rugby Unlocked campaign that saw him land high-pressure kicks to win matches against the Lions, Cheetahs and Griquas.
The 23-year old puts his form down to the fact that he has played every minute of every game for the Sharks since lockdown.
“Besides the Springbok showdown, I have played all the way through, and that extended run at 10 has really benefited me,” Bosch said.
“The confidence shown in me by the coaches and the players around me has helped me cope with the pressure … In fact, I like that pressure and responsibility of being the flyhalf in charge,” he added.
After receiving his Man of the Match award when the Sharks beat the Griquas thanks to his post-hooter goal kick, Bosch said on television that he disagreed with individual awards in team games.
“I kind of feel like it is unfair that there is a Man of the Match award when I am basically just doing my job, as are the other guys on the field,” he explained graciously.
“The forwards work really hard to earn us penalties and my job is to kick them over. It is a team effort ... but, as I said, I am in a very good space – I am doing the basics very well and that is all that is expected of me.”
Meanwhile, coach Sean Everitt has named his Sharks side to play the Pumas on Friday:
15 Manie Libbok 14 Yaw Penxe 13 Jeremy Ward 12 Marius Louw 11 Madosh Tambwe 10 Curwin Bosch 9 Sanele Nohamba 8 Thembelani Boli 7 JJ van der Mescht 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Hyron Andrews 4 Ruben van Heerden 3 Thomas du Toit 2 Kerron van Vuuren 1 Oc Nche
Bench: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Zain Davids, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Sbu Nkosi.