Ex­perts pick out SA’s fu­ture rugby he­roes at Craven Week

CityPress - - Sport - DAN RETIEF dan.retief@city­press.co.za

If you agree that the fly half is the king­pin in ev­ery rugby team, then make a note of the name Curwin Bosch. The Eastern Province No 10 was sin­gled out as the stand­out player at the an­nual Coca-Cola Craven Week for school­boys, which ended in Stel­len­bosch yesterday. Bosch’s name was the first to be men­tioned by four rugby ex­perts who were asked to rate the stan­dard of play at Craven Week and sin­gle out play­ers who had im­pressed them.

For­mer Spring­boks Ch­ester Wil­liams, Gcobani Bobo, Butch James and vet­eran broad­caster Hugh Bladen agreed that Bosch looked like a real prospect for the fu­ture.

The 18-year-old stu­dent from Grey High School in Port El­iz­a­beth has played for the SA Schools side and took his play to a new level this year.

“He is just so pol­ished and so com­posed un­der pres­sure,” said Bobo. “I saw Dan Carter [New Zealand’s star fly half] as an Un­der-20 and the best com­pli­ment I can pay Curwin is that he re­minds me of Carter at a sim­i­lar age.”

While agree­ing that the Eastern Province young­ster is supertalented, Wil­liams cau­tioned that Bosch’s de­fence needed to im­prove and warned that he should not be pushed into se­nior rugby too soon.

A good sign for South African rugby was that the an­nual tour­na­ment show­cased a num­ber of other out­stand­ing fly halves.

“I don’t think there was a side that didn’t field a de­cent fly half, es­pe­cially given the tough con­di­tions im­posed by the weather,” said James.

Oth­ers who were given a gold star for ex­cel­lence were Adri­aan van der Bank, the Boland No 10 from Worces­ter Gym­na­sium; Damian Willemse of Western Province from Paul Roos Gym­na­sium; and Bader-Werner Pre­to­rius, the Sharks’ stand-off half from Michael­house.

Among the for­wards, a young­ster who lit­er­ally stood head and shoul­ders above the rest was Valke cap­tain Hen­dre Stassen. The young lock for­ward from the East Rand’s rugby nurs­ery, EG Jansen, is 2.1m tall and the four ex­perts agreed that, apart from his phys­i­cal at­tributes, he pos­sessed the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a fu­ture Spring­bok cap­tain.

Other for­wards given the thumbs up were Eastern Province No 8 Kh­wezi Mafu, Western Province eighth-man Khanya Ncu­sane and ro­bust flanker Cobus Wiese from Uping­ton, who made a strong im­pres­sion play­ing for one of the weaker sides, Gri­qua­land West Coun­try Dis­trict.

In terms of trans­for­ma­tion it was clear that – at this level – South African rugby is on course to meet the tar­gets of its char­ter.

Wil­liams said Craven Week had un­der­gone a ma­jor change since he was a young­ster. “It is now so or­gan­ised; the teams are so well-drilled, even pro­fes­sional. “It is no longer boys hav­ing fun, be­cause many are hop­ing for pro­fes­sional con­tracts or an in­vi­ta­tion for a trial run with one of the Su­per Rugby fran­chises – so it is a lot more se­ri­ous than I re­mem­ber it.

“But there is no doubt that South Africa pos­sesses im­mense tal­ent and we must work hard to chan­nel this po­ten­tial into the se­nior ranks,” he added.

Western Province and Eastern Province had the hon­our of play­ing in the fi­nal game of Craven Week at Paul Roos Gym­na­sium yesterday.

In yesterday’s fi­nal match of the 2015 Craven Week, Curwin Bosch and his Eastern Province team were given a harsh les­son in the cru­elty of sport, as they were thrashed 95-0 by Western Province.

Ear­lier, Western Province de­feated the Blue Bulls 20-13 in their open­ing match and sup­ported this with an em­phatic 65–5 vic­tory against the Grif­fons on Wed­nes­day, while Eastern Province – ex­pertly steered with some cru­cial dropped goals by Bosch – beat South Western Dis­tricts 41-31 and KwaZu­luNatal 23-22.

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