International Rugby, Opinions, Springboks

Backing Bosch

Curwin Bosch must be backed to prosper in the Rugby Championship. He is good enough.

Good enough is old enough. Good enough is experienced enough. Bosch’s inexperience and youth should be a positive and it should also be a case of expecting him to play with the freedom of expression associated with a teenager. He must be given the licence to try the outrageous and to trust his instincts and he must also be given the comfort that it is expected he will make mistakes and make decisions that will be influenced by naivety and also inexperience.

Bosch has that something special and Springbok coach Allister Coetzee must invest in what he can do and not fear that there are aspects of his all-round game that aren’t Test hardened.

In a column on Sport 24 (prior to the Test series against France) I urged Coetzee to select him because of his exceptional Super Rugby form.

Coetzee opted for him to play in the U20 World Championships, but my view that he is good enough for Test rugby was only reinforced in the latter stages of Super Rugby.

It’s another example of growth within the Boks of 2017 that Bosch’s talents have finally been given recognition and he hopefully will be introduced to Test rugby in his home town.

Bosch, who made his professional debut for the Sharks this year, was schooled at Grey PE and was at the forefront of the Eastern Province Youth Team selections over the last few years.

It irks me to constantly hear that Bosch can’t defend and that he is a defensive vulnerability. Look at what he does on attack, with ball in hand, from broken play and when putting boot to ball.

New Zealand’s greatest strength is in how their national coaches and selectors reward form and attack. They select on what a player does and they don’t omit a player on one aspect of his game that is questionable. They work a system to nullify the vulnerability or to improve it, but primarily they focus on the strengths. Think of Jordie Barrett’s debut against the British and Irish Lions. They backed a talent on what he has done and the potential of what he could do. This was more seductive than the bits of his game that will evolve and improve with time.

Springbok rugby, to break back into the top five and then the top three, requires a change in mindset that rewards what a talent like Bosch can do instead of rejecting him because of a belief there is something he can’t do.


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