Morné Steyn is 36, but is playing like a 26-year-old, such has been his impact on the Bulls this season and Curwin Bosch is now indisputably a world-class, match-winning flyhalf.
DURBAN – Morné Steyn is 36, but is playing like a 26-year-old, such has been his impact on the Bulls this season. He had been almost hounded out of the Springbok team in 2014 following a costly few errors against the Wallabies in Perth, and a lack of attacking spark in his game, but now he is playing so well that he has spoken of a return to the Test arena.
He played just one game at the 2015 World Cup, and although Allister Coetzee brought him back into the Bok set-up in 2016, Steyn played the last of his 66 Tests in that humiliating 57-15 October defeat to the All Blacks in Durban.
But in the 2020/21 season, we have seen the Steyn that called the shots during the Bulls’ glorious period from 20072010, where they won three Super Rugby titles and a Currie Cup. He is landing the important goal-kicks, but it is his creativity that has been impressive.
Steyn pulled off another classy grubber kick to set up Stravino Jacobs’ first try against the Lions last week, brings centres Cornal Hendricks and Stedman Gans into play, and varies his play intelligently, while also not shirking his defensive duties.
Steyn joked last week that his “older” legs are unable to kick 60-metre penalties any longer, but his calm demeanour will be vital for the Bulls, as the Sharks boast a prodigious kicker of their own in Curwin Bosch, who slotted penalties from beyond 50 metres at Newlands against WP.
| Ashfak Mohamed
Curwin Bosch: Midway through 2019, Curwin Bosch was a bitter, broken young man who was desperate to pack his kit bag and play for anybody but the Sharks.
He had endured a miserable time under then-coach Robert du Preez, who did not rate Bosch but did rate, highly, Robert du Preez.
But Senior was shown the door at Jonsson Kings Park and in came Sean Everitt. One of the first things Everitt said as the new coach was that Bosch would be his flyhalf, end of story. And boy has Bosch flourished.
Last year, Bosch played more minutes for the Sharks than any other player, and he just keeps growing in confidence, the more he plays. He is now indisputably a world-class, match-winning flyhalf.
As Everitt said after the win over WP last week, “Time and time again Curwin has dug us out of some deep trenches in games we looked like we might lose.” Obviously those long range penalties from well inside his half spring to mind — the three he kicked early in the game at Newlands last week were the difference between the sides in the end — but it is his all-round game management that has really blossomed.
A number of times this season he has created tries for the outside backs via pin-point cross kicks, chips over the top or nudges through the advancing defence. And he is still just 23 … Bosch and that polished, versatile boot of his is perfect for finals rugby.
| Mike Greenaway