On Friday in Christchurch the Sharks were imperious for long periods as their pack dominated and Curwin Bosch did the rest as the flyhalf general. It looked relatively easy for the visitors against the nine-time champions as halfbacks Louis Schreuder and Bosch made the most of front-foot ball to keep their team in the right areas of the field and the Crusaders backpedalling.
The Sharks’ game plan for the evening was simple but very effective, and typical of how South African teams have gotten the better of New Zealand opposition over the years. The Sharks forwards were big and ferocious, the team defence was devastating both in terms of line speed and physical commitment, and the tactical kicking was spot on.
Territory was dominated, penalties were forced and Bosch kicked the goals, seven of them in total. It was reminiscent of how the Springboks beat the All Blacks in Wellington last year and it is the best approach to stealing wins in New Zealand.
The Sharks did not quite seal the win, but two points from a draw is significantly better than how the previous 25 teams visiting the Crusaders fared - the home team had won 25 on the trot before Saturday’s match.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus would surely have noted the composure Bosch has shown in his two starts on tour since the benching of Robert du Preez following the home defeats to the Jaguares and Reds.
Bosch has been in the Bok wilderness since playing fullback in the defeat to Wales in Washington DC last June, and a lot of that will be down to the lack of opportunities he has had at the Sharks in his preferred position of flyhalf. Nobody is suggesting that the 21-year-old is challenging Handre Pollard, but Bosch is surely proving that he is worthy of a place in a greater Bok squad given that he can cover No 15 and 10, and is a gifted goal kicker.@MikeGreenaway67