Bosman back in full form against former team Cheetahs

2011-06-06 00:00

AFTER 13 games, and a lean run stretching over four months, centre Meyer Bosman finally came to life in helping the Sharks to a critical 23-18 Super Rugby win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

The highly-rated Bosman has failed to make the expected impact in the Sharks midfield since moving to Durban from the Free State and he has been found wanting on defence on a number of occasions.

But, challenged by his former team-mates and back in his old backyard, Bosman had easily his most effective game of the season with his smooth passing, straight running and stern defence a feature of the Sharks’ second-half revival. The victory, particularly after a limp first half, surprised friend and foe and has kept the Sharks well on track for a play-off spot.

The Sharks now face the Lions, who are travelling back from New Zealand, at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Both captain and coach were delighted with Bosman’s form and singled him for special praise.

“Meyer [Bosman] really stood up,” said captain John Smit. “There has been some criticism about our midfield, but they stepped up their defence, started to get off their line [in the second half] and won some good turnovers.

“I have to take my hat off to them and Meyer was outstanding.”

Coach John Plumtree agreed.

“Meyer had a great game and Stefan [Terblanche] also played well in the midfield,” he said yesterday.

He added that the best has yet to be seen of the 26-year-old Bosman.

“He is going to be a really good player for the Sharks in the future.”

The Sharks were fortunate to trail by only five points (11-6) at half-time after a poor first half and Smit said the players were fully aware they had to improve dramatically to win.

“We knew we had to turn things around in the second half. There haven’t been too many wins for us in Bloem and it was never going to be easy against a team that’s been playing some really good rugby.

“There were some harsh words said at half-time and we were honest with ourselves. We got the intensity up in the second half. It was great to come back.”

Smit also paid tribute to the Cheetahs and the “outstanding brand of rugby they have been playing”.

Plumtree said the victory was most satisfying against an in-form team on their home patch.

“It’s always physical here and there weren’t too many people picking us to win because of the form the Cheetahs have been in and our history against them.

Plumtree was encouraged by the Sharks’ scrummaging against a highly-rated Cheetahs front-row and they won a number of penalties.

“John [Smit] hasn’t had lot if rugby at loosehead because of injury, but he can certainly scrum fine there. It’s just about getting time and it has been frustrating with him picking up some niggling injuries, like the calf strain, which has broken the continuity.

“But it was really pleasing see him play well at loosehead.”

The form of the Sharks locks, Steven Sykes and Gerhard Mostert, was another positive, he said.

“They both had big games.”

Plumtree admitted that problems remained.

“It wasn’t a complete performance by any means and we had to work hard. We said it wouldn’t matter if the win was pretty or ugly, but we did score some great tries.”

The Sharks coach said that there were no more than the usual bumps and bruises to report.

“And that’s always a bonus, coming out of a really tough, bruising local derby game with a win and no injuries.

“We are still well in the race for a play-off spot and that is what we wanted from the trip.”

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