Cell C Sharks flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain is putting his best boot forward in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship as the talented sharpshooter looks to lock down the No 10 jersey.
The 23-year-old is the Sharks’ only fit flyhalf after misfortune twice struck their pre-season training, with Springbok Curwin Bosch and veteran Lionel Cronje both suffering arm fractures that have ruled them out for the first two months of the URC.
And Chamberlain, who has been waiting in the wings for some time to prove he can fire the Sharks attack as the first-choice pivot, has ably stepped into the breach.
When chosen to stand in for Bosch in the 2021-22 URC, Chamberlain called the shots like a seasoned professional, most notably when he slotted three well-taken drop goals in a Man of the Match performance against Welsh side Ospreys.
In round three, he showed his calmness under pressure to slot the match-winning touchline conversion in a 20-19 win over Dragons in Newport.
“I’m always ready if the opportunity comes – be it 20 minutes, 80 minutes – and when I get the chance, I know what my job is and that I just need to do it,” Chamberlain said.
When he wasn’t backing up Bosch in the URC, the Paarl Boys’ High prodigy split time in the Currie Cup with Argentinian international Tito Bonilla. Simultaneously competing in two vastly different competitions may have furthered his case for selection, as it has prepared him for juggling the URC and 2022-23 European Champions Cup campaigns.
“In the Currie Cup, you have more freedom in terms of decision-making and kicking, and can get away with a bit more. In the URC, if you have one bad kick, the consequences are much worse,” he said.
“There are a lot of international players in the overseas teams and they bring calmness to their teams, and they know what it takes to turn a small mistake into a scoring opportunity.”
The Sharks have a rich history of flyhalves not afraid to attack the gainline and defend their channel, and the 5’11”, 86kg Chamberlain accepts that he will be judged on his all-round gameplay while still playing to his strengths.
“I do focus a lot on my kicking for poles and out of hand. To gain more confidence. You have to keep your team on the front foot and kicking for poles is very important, when you get a chance you must get the points,” he said.
“I always back myself when attacking, [but] every player has their strengths. Butch James was a good defender, goal-kicker and attacker [for the Sharks], same as Henry Honiball.
“I try not to think about the players who came before me, and rather focus on taking my opportunities to get better every week.”
With the star-studded company he keeps at the Sharks, it’s no surprise to hear that Chamberlain is eager to fulfil his childhood dream of wearing the green and gold.
“I’m not going to stop chasing it until it happens, so hopefully I can be in that Bok squad sooner, rather than later.”
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