Durban - Sharks coach Sean Everitt has sent out a strong message about how he views Curwin Bosch's role in the team in the next Super Rugby season.
While previously Bosch has been used both at flyhalf and fullback by the Durban franchise, Everitt told SuperSport.com that those days are over, at least for as long as he is in charge.
Bosch will wear the No 10 jersey when he is fit to do so, and will not move back to the last line of defence regardless of what happens at fullback.
The Sharks have lost Rhyno Smith to the Cheetahs, one of the many players to have committed to elsewhere before the change of Sharks coach from Robert du Preez to Everitt was announced last July. But the Sharks still have Aphelele Fassi, who has made a good fist of fullback when asked to start there and who will be a year further in his development in 2020. But even if he is injured, Everitt won't ask Bosch to step in.
"If we have an injury at fullback I will ask Boeta Chamberlain or Lwazi Mvovo to play there before I'd ask Curwin to, we want him to specialise as a flyhalf," said Everitt.
According to the new Sharks coach - this will be Everitt's first Super Rugby season in charge - Bosch is supremely motivated not only to nail down the flyhalf berth at the Sharks as his, but to challenge strongly as the man the Boks will turn to during the next four year cycle building up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
"Curwin has a real spring to his step at the moment. He has extended his stay with us by another two years and he is extremely motivated. He wants to stake a strong claim to be the Springbok flyhalf," said the Sharks coach.
Everitt didn't say so, but with some of the other captaincy candidates such as Louis Schreuder and Jeremy Ward playing in positions where there is strong competition for places, there is a possibility that Bosch, even though he is still just 22 years of age, could take on a leadership role next year.
With the Maties' former Varsity Cup winning flyhalf Jordan Chait having moved to Durban, and with Chamberlain having played a clutch of Currie Cup games last year when Bosch was injured, there is back-up at pivot. And Sanele Nohamba's emergence during the last Currie Cup season means there is more than enough option for Everitt in the other halfback position too.
"Louis Schreuder is overseas but will be returning for Super Rugby and Sanele's progress last year means that there will be really good competition at No 9," said Everitt.
"There's been a lot of vibe and energy in the squad during the off-season preparations for next year. We have lost a lot of experience but we have many youngsters on our book and they bring energy and I’d say we have a young squad but a good squad.
"The four Springboks will be returning in December, as will guys like Curwin and Andre Esterhuizen, who are currently with the Barbarians. Obviously Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi will need looking after and careful management in the build-up to next year as they have played a lot of rugby.
"Thomas du Toit has been playing at Toulouse but he hasn't had that much game time so he will be okay. There are a couple of other players who have been on loan (such as Juan Schoeman at the Southern Kings) but they will be back in time for our final preparations for the new season.”
The Sharks kick off their 2020 Super Rugby campaign with a home derby against the Bulls at Kings Park on January 31.
Their first warm-up game is against Russia in Durban on January 10.