Curwin Bosch: Sharks' lethal weapon against Ulster
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Curwin Bosch has fallen back in love with the game of rugby and is ready to deliver another match-winning performance for the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship against an Ulster outfit hunting a second win on South African soil.
Bosch was named URC Player of the Match after contributing 14 points to the Sharks’ bonus-point 29-7 victory against the Lions in Johannesburg last week, which saw the Durbanites jump up one league place from eighth to seventh.
Bosch, capped twice at Test level for the Springboks, scored a try and kicked three conversions and a penalty in a performance reminiscent of the young schoolboy No.10 who dominated and influenced wins at Grey PE and at provincial and national junior levels.
His display dazzled in difficult playing conditions and his magical try-scoring moment gave the visitors a lead they would not surrender. Bosch also launched a pinpoint 50:22 kick that provided the lineout platform for Thaakir Abrahams’s try and added a delicate grubber kick for Grant Williams to score.
Bosch was used at No.15 and No.10 prior to Neil Powell’s arrival in Durban but the former Blitzboks coach is getting the best out of Bosch since taking over as head coach.
One of Powell’s great strengths, when he took South Africa to the top of the world Sevens pecking order, was to inspire his players with his belief in their qualities and he always focused on the positive and on a player’s qualities. He then coached to improve the facets of a player’s game he felt were vulnerable, and he has done the same with Bosch in the URC.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) February 19, 2023
Bigger occasions wait for Bosch in the back end of the league, starting with this weekend and next Saturday’s visit to Cape Town to play the champion Stormers, but they are challenges Bosch views with expectation and not trepidation.
A broken thumb saw Bosch make a delayed start to the season, but the 25-year-old has credited the 11-week hiatus from the game for his renewed passion and form: “I have become a student of the game once more. Mentally, the long break was exactly what I needed. It was the longest I’ve ever been out since I left school so I had time to reflect on where I am and where I want to go.
“It gave me a chance to miss the game again. I saw a psychologist for a while to refocus my mind. Now I am looking forward to training each day and enjoying it instead of looking from Saturday to Saturday.”
Bosch is set to call the shots again on Saturday at Kings Park in a rescheduled round six encounter against Ulster, with the Irish giants travelling to Durban eager to return to winning ways. The visitors, because of the Six Nations, will be without several of their big-name players, but head coach Dan McFarland can call on veteran Springboks No.8 Duane Vermeulen.
Ulster snapped a three-game winless run in the Republic since the inception of the Vodacom URC with a dramatic round five win against the Lions in a game that ranked as one of the matches of the league. Ulster won a 76-point thriller 39-37.
But to be successful in Durban, they will have to blunt Bosch’s brilliance.