Curwin Bosch will play for the Sharks for the next year, thanks to the guidance of his agent Hilton Houghton and the support of Sharks CEO Ed Coetzee. The duo this week combined for a decision that gives Bosch the best chance of making the Springboks squad for the 2023 World Cup, writes Oliver Keohane.
Rumours circulated in the week that Bosch wanted to move to the Stormers and other rumours were that he wanted to go overseas after missing out on selection for Jacques Nienaber’s squad of 46.
Houghton and Coetzee have acted in the player’s best interest if, at 24, he is to make the Bok squad in the next 18 months.
The uncertainty about Bosch is not unexpected, but the certainty in Bosch is in a reminder of why the Sharks – and Houghton – have back him since his high school days.
The Sharks face South Africa’s strongest domestic team, the Bulls, this weekend, and Curwin Bosch returns at flyhalf to compliment the Bok pairing of Lukhanyo Am and Siya Kolisi who also come back into the mix. Eyes will likely be on these two to add impact, but I would argue that the focus should be on Bosch and his abilities in a battle that will require his technical nous as a rugby player.
Since starting his career, Bosch has suffered similarly to many other young and talented South African flyhalves, in being equally adept at fullback. It seems some strange South African theme to want to take talented schoolboy flyhalves and stick them at the back because they lack experience or perhaps have shortcomings in their games preventing them from being the complete flyhalf package at 20. It’s silly to to assume that at 20 anybody offers the complete package in any position, especially one as tactically demanding as flyhalf, and this hesitation to allow young talents to grow at number ten is often to the detriment of both the player and the team.
But, I’m also not saying they have to remain at flyhalf. When it comes to Curwin Bosch, who is now 23, there is a strong case to be made to keep him at fullback and rather develop him there. But then do that! It is to nobody’s benefit to have him, or players like him, constantly bounced in between two very different positions.
Luckily, in the case of Bosch, Sean Everitt has backed him in one position over the last year. It may not be the position many believe he is best in, but at least it’s been consistent. While Bosch will never be keen on contact, he has compensated with a brilliant boot and an attacking spark that his speed and swerve allows for . Bosch is arguably the best tactical kicker South Africa has produced in a longtime, and he has a monster foot off the tee. In order for the Sharks to leapfrog the Bulls this weekend to the Rainbow Cup “North v South” final, they need to win by a bonus point and deny the Bulls a bonus point. Quite simply, this can only happen if they have the backing of Bosch’s boot, and the game could see Curwin Bosch remind fans in Durban why they should also want him to stay.
Watch: A reminder of Bosch’s abilties