DURBAN – A million-dollar question in SA rugby ahead of the Super Rugby season is how coach Robert du Preez is going to manage the prodigious talents of flyhalf Curwin Bosch, pictured, after having recruited Robert du Preez jnr from Western Province.
It is one heck of a poser.
During the Currie Cup last year, Bosch was a perpetual man of the match for the Sharks, only for the 20-year-old to be outplayed by Du Preez in two season-finale matches against Western Province, including the Currie Cup final.
Du Preez, the Sharks’ tormentor in those games, has returned to his native Durban and is reunited with his younger twin brothers, plus his father is coaching the side.
“I would call it ‘healthy rivalry’”, says Bosch of his fight for the No 10 jersey with the 24-year-old Du Preez. “I am embracing the competition. There is no jealousy as in a case of: “I think I am better than you.... The fact is we both want the jersey, but it is about what is best for the team and about us growing as players.”
Bosch, who was capped for the Springboks last year, says he backs himself but in no way sees himself as inferior or superior to Du Preez, or any other leading SA flyhalf.
“I see it more as a learning experience for Robert and I at the Sharks,” Bosch said. “I have always been open-minded about learning from others, very much including Robert.”
* Darryn Pollock reports the Sharks have recently been producing excellent and exciting Springboks, having blooded them during the Super Rugby and Currie Cup seasons last year. One of those who looks to be a true star for the future, is Lukhanyo Am.
Am managed to pick up that elusive Test Cap in the final game of the Springboks’ season last year, against Wales off the bench.
However, the Sharks centre was recognised earlier in the season when he was selected for the June internationals. But a subsequent fractured cheek kept him off the pitch.
“It was a huge, huge confidence booster getting the Springbok cap,” Am explained. “Getting the selection, and getting the nod shows that you are doing something right.”
Am is certainly a star in the Sharks’ squad, but he is one of many in a team that has a number of promising players, especially in the backs.
Even with his versatility between 12 and 13, Am has some stiff competition in Durban.
Competition, however, is never really seen as a negative, especially for a team that is looking to get its name back up in lights.
“Competition can mean nothing else but making us as players add that extra edge to perform and play at the best ability we can,” Am explained. “It is quite a good competition in the squad, from the forwards to the backline players.”
Am has the versatility to play both positions in the centre, which means he squares up against Andre Esterhuizen, who has recently returned from a stint in Japan, Jeremy Ward, Johan Deysel, Marius Louw and Tristan Blewett.
When quizzed about his preferred position Am was more focused on what he can offer to the Sharks.
“It doesn’t matter where I play, I will play where the coach wants me to play,” he said.