DURBAN – The SuperSport transmission of the Sharks’ game against the Waratahs cut off before the Man of the Match ceremony took place, so viewers were in the dark as to whether it was Curwin Bosch, who had turned in a composed performance in the 23-15 win.
Well it was in fact Bosch, according to viewers in Australia, and well deserved too, although it could easily have gone to one of the Du Preez twins, both of whom were outstanding on Saturday. But it was apt that it went to young Bosch, given the inordinate pressure he must have been under in his first Super Rugby start in the No 10 jersey since 2017.
“We know that Robert du Preez has been the starting flyhalf for an awfully long time, with barely a hint of a break for him be it Super Rugby or Currie Cup.
“We have seen regular rotation in every position in the Sharks team - props, locks, centres, wings and flanks - but it hasn’t happened at flyhalf... Until last week when the coaching staff simply could not ignore the public clamouring for Bosch to be given his shot, with this underscored by the obvious fatigue besetting Du Preez.
So Bosch was picked at No 10 at last, and his fans would have been holding thumbs that the 21-year-old lived up to the expectation heaped on him. He did. He was far from perfect, notably with his first-half goal kicking, but considering he hadn’t played in the position for two years, his performance was excellent.
FULL TIME:— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) April 27, 2019
The @cellc Sharks have come away victorious in their clash with the NSW Waratahs!
In a game characterised by uncompromising defense, it was the hosts who blinked first, & the @cellc Sharks were able to start their tour with a win.#WARvSHA#OurSharksForever pic.twitter.com/9WzOYSFLc2
What stood out was the calm game management from the youngster. His kicking for field position was mostly immaculate, his passing strong and precise, his attacking vision was impressive and his defence was mostly good (he made four tackles and missed two).
He finished the match having made eight carries that covered 43m, and he beat three defenders. He scored 13 points from two conversions and three penalties.
Following the impressive victory of their first game on tour down under, the @CellC Sharks are hoping to build a winning streak as they take on the @crusadersrugby this Friday. 🏉#CRUvSHA #OurSharksForever 🦈 pic.twitter.com/iCYCN26snx— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) April 29, 2019
What was peculiar, then, was the coaching staff shifting him to fullback as the game hit the hour mark. If he was busy delivering a Man-of-the-Match performance, why move him from the thick of the battle to the rear, and bring on a player who was supposed to be getting a rest?
Coach Du Preez obviously had his reasons for making this change for the last quarter of the game but whatever they are, it just did not look good given the controversy around the flyhalf position, and it now begs the question: Will Bosch be retained at No 10 for this Friday’s match against the Crusaders in Christchurch? There might be a riot if he is not.
The team will hopefully stay the same after such a positive victory. These players did the job well and should be retained for what is going to be the toughest assignment of the season so far.@MikeGreenaway67