“Right now he is scoring everything he is hitting. I am very pleased he is on our side!” – Sbu Nkosi.
DURBAN Þ The Sharks’ World Cup winner Sbu Nkosi has been in the perfect position on the right wing to witness the evolution of Curwin Bosch into an international class match-winner this Currie Cup, and he sees no reason why the flyhalf can’t steer his team past the Bulls in Saturday’s final.
“I can see the sparkle in his eyes again,” Nkosi smiled. “He is on fire right now. Everything he puts his boot to seems to work out. I love that. As his teammate, I am looking to give him as much confidence as I can, and want to give him as many opportunities as possible to kick at goal because right now he is scoring everything he is hitting. I am very pleased he is on our side!”
Nkosi says the Sharks are eyeing the finishing line to one of the most difficult seasons of rugby ever with an extreme desire to make all the drama worthwhile.
“There has been so many trials and tribulations — the Sharks have been severely hit by Covid infections — so if we can get our hands on that trophy after all these challenges, it would mean so much to us,” he said.
Not too many people are backing the Sharks to do just that, but Nkosi laughs off talk about the underdog tag.
“I think it has been a very interesting Currie Cup in that quite a few underdog teams have gone on to win games and favourites have lost,” he observed. “So the underdog tag is not something we are considering, and the Bulls with their world-class coaching staff and players will give us all the respect we deserve because they know that we are giving them the respect they deserve.”
Finals rugby almost by definition mean wings such as Nkosi seldom see the ball because the game tightens up into a forward battle allied to positional kicking by the halfbacks, but he says the Sharks will not ignore an opportunity to run the ball.
“The conservative nature of play-off games does not come from the pressure of being in a final, it comes from the adrenaline and attention to detail that each player has on the field — if everyone’s concentration is 100 percent on the field when it comes to defence, it is hard to find space on attack and so it pushes the teams to a conservative way of playing.
“But we want to play the game and not the occasion,” Nkosi explained. “If the games allows space to have ball in hand and run, then we will —our game plan allows us to do that. But if the game only allows us to find space in the air, then that is what we will do.”
And if the ball does not find its way out to the right wing, what can he do to make an impact on the game.
“In a close game you just need to stamp your mark differently,” the 25-year-old said. “When it is tight, you don’t always have to be trying to grab the ball somehow and run. You just have to have all your fundamentals in place. Finals are won by teams that make the least mistakes in important areas or stages of the game.”