Curwin Bosch steps into the breach for the Sharks
Curwin Bosch hasn’t always been the flavour of the month from a flyhalf perspective in Durban‚ but like any consummate professional‚ he’s made his work between the four lines do all the talking.
The Sharks have needed him to be at his best in the wake of Robert du Preez’s alarming loss of form that directly contributed to home defeats against the Bulls and the Reds.
Bosch’s defensive frailties are well spoken about but there are pros with every con to playmakers.
What Bosch doesn’t have in defensive solidity‚ he more than makes up for with a sense of game management‚ energy and selflessness that has allowed the Sharks to compete on more than an even keel in their matches against the Waratahs and the Crusaders.
Crucially‚ the Sharks haven’t lost those games and they’ll need him at his best for Saturday’s clash against the Chiefs.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez hasn’t always been effusive when praising Bosch‚ which could be expected considering the Grey High School product competes directly with his son‚ Robert du Preez Jnr.
The younger Du Preez is known to be all substance and no flash but the former quality has gone missing this year.
Having spent his off-season at the Sale Sharks‚ Du Preez has looked jaded for the better part of the campaign.
As a by-product‚ the talented Sharks backline haven't fired and when the Sharks forwards have put in the hard yards‚ they haven't been rewarded.
Du Preez said the team have benefited from Bosch's excellence but they haven't mentioned anything about his defensive issues.
“We have never mentioned anything about his defensive frailty. He’s a well-rounded player who works hard‚” Du Preez said.
“There are areas that he is stronger in but there certainly is no frailty. He’s played really well at 10 and has been good for us.”
The Sharks have an opportunity of finishing their three-match tour without dropping a game. However‚ the Chiefs are a surprise package who have been difficult to predict.
They are the weakest of the New Zealand teams but they gave the Bulls a right royal hiding on their tour of South Africa.
The Sharks will be aware of the unstructured threat the Chiefs pose and Du Preez isn’t taking them lightly.
“The Chiefs are one of the top point-scorers in the competition and we know what they can do from an attack point of view.
“It’s going to be an incredibly tough battle. We have too much respect for them to take them likely. We have prepared well and are ready for this final challenge on tour‚” Du Preez said.