Curwin Bosch has been the star attraction at the 2014 Craven Week and deserves to play in Saturday's main match, writes BRENTON CHELIN in Middelburg.
There is an innate quality in certain players that sets them apart from the rest. It's sometimes difficult to put your finger on exactly what that is. Watching Bosch play this week, it's clear that he possesses this quality, whatever it may be. At times it looks like he's playing the game in slow motion, a trait that is somewhat uncommon in the fast-paced game usually on show at schoolboy level. His vision and decision-making belies his tender years, making him such an exciting prospect at the age of just 17.
With Bosch conducting those around him, Eastern Province have been a delight to watch this week. Their backline has received the plaudits, but credit must also be given to their forwards who have fronted up to the Blue Bulls and Free State, and come out on top. Their lineout has functioned well and their mobile forward pack has provided quality ball for their talented backs to express themselves.
Their opponents on Saturday have been no less impressive in their two matches so far. Having squeezed past KwaZulu-Natal on the opening day, SWD produced some truly astounding rugby against last year's unofficial champions, Western Province. Absolute commitment on defence and near flawless execution on attack saw them coast to a comprehensive 38-23 win, and they'll need much of the same on Saturday if they are to overcome a strong Eastern Province side. Inspirational captain Le Roux Baard has been the driving force behind their run, while centre and kicker JT Jackson has hardly put a foot wrong.
While the 51st Craven Week has flattered to deceive at times, there is no doubt that the week's two best teams will close things out on Saturday. It's been refreshing to see two of the 'smaller' unions performing this week, with teams from South Africa's major metropolitans dominating many of the recent editions. The SA Schools trial squad will be announced after the main game, where the 'finalists' can expect to be well represented.
Beat Blue Bulls 26-25
Beat Free State 19-5
Beat KwaZulu-Natal 18-13
Beat Western Province 38-23
Eastern Province (probable) – 15 Keanu Vers, 14 Athi Mayinje, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Heino Bezuidenhout, 11 Darren Lottering, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Rouché Nel, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Johann van Niekerk, 6 SF Nieuwoudt, 5 Wihan Coetzer, 4 Stephan Janse van Vuuren, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Alalndré van Rooyen, 1 Pumi Mguca.
Subs: 16 Robin Stevens, 17 Kaden Prince, 18 Roché van Zyl, 19 Morney Moos, 20 Nathan Augustus, 21 Tiaan Stander, 22 Leznar Nxele.
SWD (probable) – 15 Ruan Barnard, 14 Manie Libbok, 13 Curtley Prins, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Shadward Fillies, 10 Christo Hamman, 9 Dominic Smith, 8 Navada Jacobs, 7 Armand Heunis, 6 Christopher Roelofse, 5 Eduard Zandberg, 4 Anton Smit, 3 Wynand de Necker, 2 Le Roux Baard, 1 Samuel Odendaal.
Subs: 16 Vogien Talmaggies, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Roux Swart, 19 Adré Smit, 20 Luvuju Ndevu, 21 Niven Langdown, 22 Johannes Duvenhage.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images