- Despite temporarily stealing Curwin Bosch's lunch tin during his loan spell at the Sharks, Lionel Cronje was full of praise for his younger team-mate.
- Cronje praised Bosch's kicking, attacking and communication skills.
- He said players of Bosch's and Damian Willemse's prodigious talent needed time to develop.
Despite temporarily stealing Curwin Bosch's lunch tin during his loan spell at the Sharks, Lionel Cronje was full of praise for his younger team-mate of the same position.
Cronje's arrival from Toyota Verblitz has forced Bosch back to the No 15 jersey after spending more than a year between the start of 2020 and the start of this year's Currie Cup as the Sharks' preferred flyhalf.
The move has bolstered the Sharks' experience, especially after losing Springbok outside backs Lukhanyo Am, Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi to the national team.
Bosch had a form dip that possibly twisted Sharks head coach Sean Everitt's arm into sending him to the backfield to allow the 24-year-old more space and time in the hope he'll regain his confidence.
"I mentioned before he made his Springbok debut (against Argentina) in 2017 that Curwin is a very talented rugby player," said Cronje.
"We just need to keep backing him and developing the areas he needs work on. He's very well aware of those areas he needs to work on.
"He's definitely talented, and he's someone we should cherish. His kicking is phenomenal, if not the best in the country, and his attacking abilities are second to none.
"His communication skills are up there. There's no reason he can't become a household name at Springbok level.
"He's got high ambitions and works hard on his game and his craft. I don't see why he can't make the step up to international level."
Cronje believes players of Bosch's and Damian Willemse's skills multitude and prodigious gifts are often put under more pressure because of South Africans' impatience to see them develop quickly.
He insisted that the pair, who've oscillated from fullback and flyhalf but settled at neither position, needed time to grow and understand their game.
"We're so spoilt for talent in South Africa, and our supporters are so critical that we expect them to be at a certain level at 21, 22, 23, whereas some guys come into their own at 24, 25, 26," Cronje said.
"Morne Steyn is a good example of that. He was  when he made his Springbok debut, but he was at the Bulls honing his craft before then.
"Curwin has played 50 Super Rugby and 34 Currie Cup games, and he's only 24, but we're worried about his development.
"We need to keep trusting that development and talent and not be so outcome-driven in terms of chasing results.
"It's the same with Damian Willemse - a player so talented. It's great to see him get an opportunity at international level.
"As a player, you always need six or so games under the belt before one can give a good opinion of how one is going."