Sharks coach Sean Everitt says Curwin Bosch is looking like a Test flyhalf after his match-winning performance against the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday.
The Sharks kept their hopes of finishing on top of the Currie Cup table alive by holding on to claim a 32-29 win over the first-placed Bulls in Durban, after Morne Steyn missed a penalty after the full-time hooter which would have given the visitors a draw.
By contrast, Bosch had the decisive touches in the game, not only setting up the winning try with a pinpoint cross-field kick to winger Yaw Penxe, but also holding his nerve in windy conditions to slot the conversion. Bosch also kicked three penalties in the first half and a total of five in the game.
The 23-year-old has continued his upward trajectory as far as his growth as a flyhalf goes, which started when Everitt made it clear in the 2019 Currie Cup that he was going to be back in his favourite position.
‘I am so proud of Curwin,’ Everitt said after the match. ‘He is kicking so well at the moment. He is the guy who kept us in the game with those two long-range penalties early in the first half. That put our noses in front and the Bulls played a little bit of catch-up. Curwin’s all-round game has improved. Last week, he nearly got a steal in the breakdown. His defence was good. His backfield work has improved immensely.
‘He is certainly running the game like a mature flyhalf should do. He is looking more and more like an international flyhalf and hopefully, he can continue that performance. This young chap is just growing with confidence and I can’t wait for him to reach his full potential.’
In a dramatic second half, the Sharks sacrificed a 17-9 lead and trailed the Bulls 29-20 when Cornal Hendricks scored in the 62nd minute. However, the home side started their fightback when replacement hooker Kerron van Vuuren scored from a maul, before Bosch produced his moment of magic.
‘I think the guys put in a great performance and a massive improvement on what we have delivered this year,’ Everitt said on the game. ‘We said we needed to improve our performance over the 80 minute period and obviously, we took ascendency in the game in the last five. Unfortunately for Morne and the Bulls, he missed that last kick to see them draw the game. But I think at the end of the day, if you look at the first half as a whole, I think we deserved to win this one.’
Everitt also gave an update on the fitness of tighthead prop Thomas du Toit, who went off injured in the early stages of the second half. Du Toit had only recently returned from an injury he suffered in the first round of Super Rugby Unlocked.
‘Thomas has a bit of a rib cartilage injury. We don’t know how serious this one is that he picked up this afternoon. One must commend Michael Kumbirai when he came on. His work rate was outstanding and I thought the scrum went well on his side. Nobody wants to lose their Springbok tighthead at this stage of the competition.
‘We are going into a few hard games in a row now, we have still got the Lions and the Cheetahs away. That is a massive challenge for us. Hopefully, Thomas’ injury is not too serious.’
The Sharks are now five points away from the Bulls, but face a tough run of fixtures with away games against an improving Lions team in Johannesburg and what will be a desperate Cheetahs team in Bloemfontein.
Everitt said that while his team’s home form has been impressive, they cannot afford to get complacent after beating the Bulls.
‘Winning your home games is really important for us. I am just happy that we managed to maintain our 100% record at home. That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season. We wanted to make Kings Park our fortress and make people proud. It is just unfortunate that the spectators aren’t here to watch what we deliver at Kings Park.
‘The challenge is now on the road. At the beginning of the year, winning three out of four on tour, will certainly help with the guys’ confidence in going to Ellis Park. The Lions are a tough team at home. They are playing the best rugby they have in the entire year. That’s going to be a massive challenge, but our guys will grow with confidence from this performance tonight and hopefully next week we can put in a better performance.
‘One of our DNA blocks is that we stay humble. We are performance-driven, that’s what I have pushed all year. We have got to be critical of our performances and we need to improve where we need to. We have to keep hat in mind going forward. The guys can’t look too far ahead.
‘We were good tonight. We mustn’t underestimate the fact that Morne missed a kick to level the scores at the end. That’s not normally what happens when he kicks at poles. We will take the win. We are happy about it. I am happy about the improved performance with the team. We will enjoy it this evening, come back to work on Monday so that we can prepare well for a massive challenge in Joburg on Saturday.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images