The return to fitness of Frenchman Clement Poitrenaud means that Curwin Bosch is likely to be looked to as the solution to the Cell C Sharks’ flyhalf problems in Saturday’s big Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
According to sources who saw the Sharks train on Tuesday, Poitrenaud was lining up at fullback, where he started the recent match against the Waratahs, while Bosch was slotting in at flyhalf, which was where he finished the 37-14 defeat of the Australian team after coming on in the early minutes for the injured captain, Patrick Lambie.
Of course, as he walked away with the Man of the Match award in that game with his personal haul of 27 points, Bosch was always going to be a possibility for flyhalf once Bernhard Janse van Rensburg had failed to take his opportunity against the Southern Kings last weekend. Garth April played well as his replacement later in the game, but looks like me might be set for the bench role again against the Cheetahs.
It will be a different challenge for Bosch to start a game at flyhalf as opposed to coming onto the field off the bench, but coach Robert du Preez appears to have confidence in his ability to take the pressure, something he showed in slotting a match-winning 55 metre penalty against the Kings. Bosch started at fullback in that game because of an injury to Poitrenuad and has played most of his senior rugby in the last line of defence.
Lock Etienne Oosthuizen, who was out with suspension following the opening game against the Reds and only returned off the replacements bench last week, look sets to make his first start since Brisbane as coach Robert du Preez looks to shake up the team that struggled to a disappointing two point win over their unrated coastal rivals. The Sharks also look set to return to their first choice front-row after rotating last week.
According to Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, it was the mental attitude that let the team down against the Kings and that a heart to heart talk at the start of the build-up week has set the Sharks right for the Bloemfontein trip.
“It came down to attitude. We let ourselves and our supporters down and we will make sure we don’t make the same mistake again,” said Reinach.
“There were changes to the side last week but that was no excuse for our performance. We train as a squad, we all know the calls, it was simply down to the players not producing on the day.”
Reinach looks set to continue in the No 9 jersey but must feel under some pressure from Michael Claassens, who bought some much needed direction and crispness around the fringes when he came on as a second half replacement against the Kings