Durban - Sharks utility back Curwin Bosch believes his time with the Junior Springboks will be an important stepping stone to Test rugby.
Bosch, who was a World Rugby Junior Player of the Year nominee in 2016, will play his second year of Under-20 international rugby as he was named in the final Junior Springbok squad to travel to Georgia for the 2017 Junior World Championship.
The 19-year-old has quickly become one of the darlings of South African rugby as he’s been in impressive form the Sharks, especially during the injury-enforced absence of captain Pat Lambie.
Featuring at flyhalf and fullback, Bosch has played a key rule during the Durban-based franchise’s six wins from nine matches to date. This puts them in a strong position to qualify for the playoffs later this season.
His good form saw him named MyPlayers’ Player of the Month in March after receiving the most votes from his fellow South African professional rugby players. He also earned his first call-up to Springbok training camp in Stellenbosch in April.
While many media pundits and fans have stressed that he should be playing senior Springbok against France in June, Bosch is excited to use his Junior Springbok opportunity as a stepping stone to higher honours.
“Looking back to my first season of professional rugby in 2016, competitions like the Varsity Shield and Vodacom Cup helped me prepare for senior rugby. Playing for the Junior Springboks last year also gave me great international experience,” Bosch told MyPlayers.
“It’s a privilege being able to represent my country in my age group again this season. I’m looking forward to working with some of the best Under-20 players in the country and coming together as a team to win the tournament. I’m excited to with work with coaches like Chean Roux and Mzwandile Stick, who have both been part of the senior Springbok management in recent years. They know what is required at the highest level, so I look forward to working with them and learning important lessons.”
Bosch added that he’s thoroughly enjoying his second season of Super Rugby and credits the Sharks for his successful step-up to senior level at an early age.
“I am very fortunate to receive all the senior opportunities given over the past two seasons, which included my Super Rugby debut during my first year out of school. Not many young players get big chances like that so early in their careers, so I did my best to make the most of them,” said Bosch. “I’m enjoying the regular game time I’m currently receiving, so I’m focused on working hard on and off the field and proving my worth in every team I’m picked for. My highlight so far was scoring 27 points during the Sharks’ win over the Waratahs at Kings Park. I haven’t scored so many points in one game since school.
“The Sharks really prepared me well. I was carefully introduced to the tough intensity and quick pace at training with the senior guys, which helped a lot. I also received great mentorship from my coaches and senior players. Over the past two years, guy like JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Beast Mtawarira and Tera Mtembu - to name a few - all played influential roles and helped me prepare for the big games in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.”
In terms of his individuals goals, Bosch stressed that he’s not looking too far ahead as he aims to earn his future opportunities.
“For now, I just want to do well for the Junior Springboks and Sharks, and help both teams achieve success. If I put in the hard work very week, it will put me in a good position to achieve my ultimate goal of representing the Springboks one day. But in saying that, I know it won’t come easy and I have to earn my opportunity.”
Off the field, Bosch is also putting plans in place to ensure he excels in his academics too.
“I’m come to realise that the way I balance my life is very important. Although I’m playing regular senior rugby, I must always remember that I’m just 19 years old,” he explained. “There are so many years ahead of me. There are sacrifices I need to make as a young professional player, but these decisions will help me in the long term.
“I’ve started my studies in business management this year, which will ensure I’ll have a qualification behind my name one day. My rugby commitments do make it tough, but I need to dedicate time to it when I can. My academic journey take a bit longer compared to other students, but it will be worth the effort.
“It’s also been great working with MyPlayers, an organisation that plays a big role when it comes to taking care of players and educating us to prepare for life after rugby. They offer great studying opportunities, player benefits and assist us with our financial planning.”
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