CAPE TOWN - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says they might need Sharks talent Curwin Bosch’s big boot in an important match during their Rugby Championship campaign, which kicks off on August 19 against Argentina.
Bosch was named as one of four uncapped players in the Springbok squad after the Super Rugby final on Saturday night, and Coetzee was confident Bosch has shown his mettle as a Bok prospect.
“Curwin has really done well. It’s great to have him. He’s a talented guy, whether he’s ready now or not, he’s very talented and I think he will definitely play for South Africa in the future,” Coetzee said from Port Elizabeth.
“So why not give him an opportunity? His out-of-hand kicking is unbelievable and he can kick to the posts as well. So you never know - you might need Curwin in an important match to do that.”
And as great as it is that Coetzee has rewarded Bosch’s fine Super Rugby form with a Bok call-up, a few questions regarding the omission of form Lions wing Ruan Combrinck have been asked.
Combrinck has been prominent for the Lions, and he was also instrumental in their quarter-final win over the Sharks, securing victory for departing coach Johan Ackermann’s team with a last-gasp monster penalty kick.
Coetzee acknowledged that Combrink, and even Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who has enjoyed less game time this season than Combrinck due to injury, have put up impressive performances, but added that the players he selected for the Rugby Championship did enough to prove they belong in the Bok squad.
“It’s always difficult to fit 40 players into 33, and next week it will be difficult to turn 33 into 23, so there will always be unlucky players,” the Bok coach said.
“Ruan Combrinck did play well, and Rohan Janse van Rensburg - although he hasn’t started a full game yet - also did well when he came on.
"It’s good to see that they’re performing well, because that shows they want to be in the Springbok camp.”
“But we started a new season this year and the players were told that when they perform in this Springbok group, they must be difficult to replace. And those players did perform.”
“When they went back to their franchises I saw that what was started against the French continued at their unions, so how do I justify leaving those players out? How do I do that?”
“I have to stick with my continuity and my consistency.”
Coetzee also said that the Bok door was not closed for those “unlucky” players who didn’t make the cut this time.
“This squad is not cast in stone. Players who are unlucky at the moment could get an opportunity. It’s 10 weeks of Rugby Championship and anything could happen. They must just stay positive.”
With Warren Whiteley on the casualty list, the Bok captaincy is vacant, and when asked if he had decided on a skipper for the Championship yet, Coetzee said that he would make a decision later this week.
He could, however, confirm that there were a number of “leaders” in the current squad who he was looking at, and added that whoever is chosen as the team's captain will have a lot of support around him.
“We are working on a basis of a leadership group. Siya Kolisi, Elton Jantjies and Beast Mtawarira are there with Eben (Etzebeth), and with Warren out, we’re going to look at getting another guy in there because there are a lot of leaders in this group.”
“Jaco Kriel, Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff also have good leadership qualities, and all these players need to understand that they need to chip in now.”
“Eben has done a fantastic job, filling in on short notice in that third Test against France when Warren suffered a groin injury.
"But I will make a final decision later this week.”