JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Bosch gets chance to shine in a Bok jersey
Curwin Bosch will have the chance to emulate Handré Pollard by guiding the Junior Springboks to the world championship title after he was named in the squad for the annual showpiece.
Bosch is one of eight players in the 28-man squad, named on Wednesday, that did duty at the 2016 Junior World Cham-pionships in England.
The tournament takes place in Tbilisi‚ Georgia, in June.
The Junior Boks have not won the title since Pollard’s genius at flyhalf steered the team to the world title on home soil five years ago.
Just about every side that has won the junior world title has included the dominant flyhalf of the season from Pollard in 2012 to England’s Harry Mallinder in 2016‚ and New Zealand’s Aaron Cruden in 2009 and Beauden Barrett in 2011.
Bosch’s inclusion means that he will not feature for the senior Springboks against France‚ despite being the form SA flyhalf in Super Rugby this season.
Stormers fringe player Damian Willemse‚ himself an outrageously talented flyhalf‚ and Southern Kings wing Yaw Penxe are the other Super Rugby players in the squad.
Blitzbok internationals Stedman Gans and Zain Davids have also been included in the squad to be captained by lock Ernst van Rhyn.
Coach Chean Roux’s squad also includes six players who represented the 2016 SA Schools team in the Under-19 International Series – Salmaan Moerat‚ who captained the team‚ Gianni Lombard‚ Rewan Kruger‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Willemse and Daniel Jooste.
Van Rhyn‚ Bosch‚ Kwenzo Blose‚ Carlu Sadie‚ Davids‚ Gans‚ Manie Libbok and Embrose Papier were all members of the Junior Bok team that finished fourth in the World Under-20 Championship in Manchester in 2016.
Van Rhyn was the SA Under-20 vice-captain last season and the SA Schools captain in 2015‚ while Johan Grobbelaar has been named the vice-captain.
"We are pleased with the quality of the players in our squad and we believe the team has the potential to go all the way in the competition‚" Roux said.
"We had to make a number of tough calls to trim the group to 28 players‚ but we are confident that we have selected a squad worthy of competing against the best teams in the world in Georgia.
"A number of the players have experienced international age-group rugby either in the World Rugby U20 Championship or the U19 International Series‚ while others have been exposed to International Sevens and Super Rugby‚ which will be invaluable in Georgia."
Commenting on the selection of the captain‚ Roux spoke highly of Van Rhyn and said: "Ernst is a hard worker on the field and has proved his worth as a leader in the last few seasons at the SA Schools team and the SA U20s last year."
Looking at the tournament in Georgia‚ Roux expected his team to be tested thoroughly‚ but he was pleased with their preparation up to now.
"We face France‚ Georgia and Argentina in the pool stages‚ so we have to be in top form from the outset to stay in a strong position to stake a claim for the trophy‚" Roux said.
"That said, we have been working very hard at training in the last two months to prepare both physically and mentally for what we can expect in Tbilisi and we hope that this will pay off."