Durban - Curwin Bosch continued to announce his arrival at Super Rugby level with a polished performance in the Sharks’ comprehensive defeat of the New South Wales Waratahs at Kings Park last night.
Pressed into service from the bench just six minutes into the game after flyhalf Pat Lambie pulled up lame, the precocious 19-year-old snatched his chance by scoring 27 of the Sharks’ points via an intercept try and nailing all eight of his kicks at goal (two conversions and six penalties).
The Sharks’ coaches have seemingly been shielding Bosch by having him play off the bench, but after being instrumental in their last two victories, perhaps it’s time the cotton wool came off.
The utility back was ably assisted by centre Lukhanyo Am and flanker Jean-Luc du Preez.
Am, who scored the Sharks’ winning try against the Brumbies in Canberra last week (from a Bosch kick ahead), reads the game so well he may well have a sixth sense about where the ball is going to end up.
Once there, his alertness and speed of thought meant he almost always did the right thing with it.
For his part, Du Preez did relative miracles generating go-forward ball in spaces the size of a telephone booth.
Better yet, he’s embraced offloading before or in contact, making him an even trickier customer to deal with.
Despite being dominated in pretty much all aspects in the game, with Israel Folau’s two tries suggesting a lone battle to stem the tide, the Waratahs will be disappointed at how two of the hosts’ three tries came from their mistakes in possession.
Earlier in the day, a sometimes disjointed and often scrappy Stormers still had too much for a competitive but error-ridden Kings, beating them 41-10 to maintain their unbeaten record and remain top of their Africa One conference.
Robbie Fleck’s men scored six tries to the hosts’ one for their bonus-point win, with Eben Etzebeth, their captain for the day, given the man of the match award for a busy performance where he took ample line-out ball, carried a fair bit and did his bit tackling the tricky Kings runners.
As convincing as the final score was, it doesn’t quite reflect how competitive the Kings were, especially in the first and third quarters.
The Kings have yet to beat a domestic team in Super Rugby competition.
The Kings’ unforced errors time and again undermined a lively backline featuring the underrated Makazole Mapimpi, Masixole Banda, Malcolm Jaer and Lionel Cronjé.
That cost them, as did the fact that the Stormers had too much ammunition in their talented side. They were clinical in taking their opportunities, despite delivering a rather scrappy performance.