“A number of players have played one or two Tests and they are quickly forgotten. I want to be a Jean de Villiers, a Bryan Habana or a Victor Matfield. Those guys will be spoken about forever and have left a legacy. I want to be like that,” Bosch said. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
“A number of players have played one or two Tests and they are quickly forgotten. I want to be a Jean de Villiers, a Bryan Habana or a Victor Matfield. Those guys will be spoken about forever and have left a legacy. I want to be like that,” Bosch said. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Bosch’s Springbok dreams are back on track

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Mar 10, 2020

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DURBAN - When Curwin Bosch was 14, he got tickets to watch the Springboks play the All Blacks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in his home town of Port Elizabeth.

He went to the match as an All Black supporter but after a rare Bok win, he returned to Grey High with a dream of playing in the green and gold. This he told me in an interview shortly after he joined the Sharks straight out of school. He added that his ambitions to play for South Africa were so fierce that he wasn’t interested in just making the Boks ... he wanted to play 100 Tests.

“A number of players have played one or two Tests and they are quickly forgotten. I want to be a Jean de Villiers, a Bryan Habana or a Victor Matfield. Those guys will be spoken about forever and have left a legacy. I want to be like that,” Bosch said.

The next year, Bosch earned his first Bok cap, an appearance off the bench in a win against Argentina at the very same Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where he had been a wide-eyed youth six years before.

A year later, Rassie Erasmus gave him a crack as the starting fullback in the ill-fated friendly against Wales in Washington DC, but that has been it for a ridiculously-talented player who would have been given more “pickable” had he not been pushed from pillar to post at the Sharks. He came to the Sharks with a work ethic second to none. His prodigious kicking out of hand and at goal is not by chance - at Grey High he practiced his kicking so long and hard that he developed knee injuries from over-usage.

His problem at the Sharks is that he was quickly identified by the coaching staff as being a weak tackler. He was blamed for losing the 2017 Currie Cup final against Western Province in Durban because of this, and the next year Robert du Preez left Cape Town and took over as flyhalf at the Sharks.

Bosch subsequently sometimes started at fullback and often played off the bench, and before long his confidence was shot.

The poor kid didn’t know whether he was coming or going, and in fact, he almost went! To the Stormers, in fact, who in a badly kept secret vigorously sought his services.

In fact, if there had not been a change in coaching staff at the Sharks after last year’s Super Rugby season, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that this weekend at Jonsson Kings Park would see Bosch in the blue and white of the Cape side.

To be fair to Du Preez, the coach, it was his right as the boss to select whoever he wanted because it is the coach who lives or dies by the team’s results. Du Preez felt that Bosch was a liability at flyhalf because of his defensive frailties and he couldn’t win Super Rugby with Bosch missing tackles in a vital channel.

Well, Du Preez died by his results, Sean Everitt came in and immediately put Bosch at No 10 for the Currie Cup and he has stayed there ever since. And guess what? The Sharks are top of the Super Rugby standings after six rounds and Bosch has been brilliant as the season has worn on and his confidence has grown.

His Man-of-the-Match performance against the Jaguares was at times breath-taking.

And Bosch is now being spoken about as an inevitable inclusion in the Bok squad later this year. If Handre Pollard is quite rightly the entrenched starting No 10, Bosch is now the understudy, on form surpassing Elton Jantjies, the World Cup back-up to Pollard.

Bosch’s Bok dreams are back on track and he has Everitt to thank for seeing his potential where others could not.

Mike Greenaway


The Mercury

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