Young stars a good omen for SA rugby

Curwin Bosch of Eastern Province has been hailed as one for the future following a glittering performance at this week’s Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Stellenbosch. PHOTO: Petri Oeschger / Gallo Images
Curwin Bosch of Eastern Province has been hailed as one for the future following a glittering performance at this week’s Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Stellenbosch. PHOTO: Petri Oeschger / Gallo Images

If you agree that the fly half is the kingpin in every rugby team, then make a note of the name Curwin Bosch.

The Eastern Province No 10 was singled out as the standout player at the annual Coca-Cola Craven Week for schoolboys, which ended in Stellenbosch yesterday.

Bosch’s name was the first to be mentioned by four rugby experts who were asked to rate the standard of play at Craven Week and single out players who had impressed them.

Former Springboks Chester Williams, Gcobani Bobo, Butch James and veteran broadcaster Hugh Bladen agreed that Bosch looked like a real prospect for the future.

The 18-year-old student from Grey High School in Port Elizabeth has played for the SA Schools side and took his play to a new level this year.

“He is just so polished and so composed under pressure,” said Bobo. “I saw Dan Carter [New Zealand’s star fly half] as an Under-20 and the best compliment I can pay Curwin is that he reminds me of Carter at a similar age.”

While agreeing that the Eastern Province youngster is supertalented, Williams cautioned that Bosch’s defence needed to improve and warned that he should not be pushed into senior rugby too soon.

A good sign for South African rugby was that the annual tournament showcased a number of other outstanding fly halves.

“I don’t think there was a side that didn’t field a decent fly half, especially given the tough conditions imposed by the weather,” said James.

Others who were given a gold star for excellence were Adriaan van der Bank, the Boland No 10 from Worcester Gymnasium; Damian Willemse of Western Province from Paul Roos Gymnasium; and Bader-Werner Pretorius, the Sharks’ stand-off half from Michaelhouse.

Among the forwards, a youngster who literally stood head and shoulders above the rest was Valke captain Hendre Stassen. The young lock forward from the East Rand’s rugby nursery, EG Jansen, is 2.1m tall and the four experts agreed that, apart from his physical attributes, he possessed the characteristics of a future Springbok captain.

Other forwards given the thumbs up were Eastern Province No 8 Khwezi Mafu, Western Province eighth-man Khanya Ncusane and robust flanker Cobus Wiese from Upington, who made a strong impression playing for one of the weaker sides, Griqualand West Country District.

In terms of transformation it was clear that – at this level – South African rugby is on course to meet the targets of its charter.

Williams said Craven Week had undergone a major change since he was a youngster.

“It is now so organised; the teams are so well-drilled, even professional.

“It is no longer boys having fun, because many are hoping for professional contracts or an invitation for a trial run with one of the Super Rugby franchises – so it is a lot more serious than I remember it.

“But there is no doubt that South Africa possesses immense talent and we must work hard to channel this potential into the senior ranks,” he added.

Western Province and Eastern Province had the honour of playing in the final game of Craven Week at Paul Roos Gymnasium yesterday.

In yesterday’s final match of the 2015 Craven Week, Curwin Bosch and his Eastern Province team were given a harsh lesson in the cruelty of sport, as they were thrashed 95-0 by Western Province.

Earlier, Western Province defeated the Blue Bulls 20-13 in their opening match and supported this with an emphatic 65–5 victory against the Griffons on Wednesday, while Eastern Province – expertly steered with some crucial dropped goals by Bosch – beat South Western Districts 41-31 and KwaZulu-Natal 23-22.

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July 2020

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