Durban — Curwin Bosch says an injury-enforced three months away from rugby plus a visit to a sports psychologist are the reasons why he has turned his career around.
The Sharks play Edinburgh away on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and with the revitalised Bosch running the show at flyhalf, they will be confident of avenging their loss to the same team in Durban last year.
The 25-year-old has been a revelation since making his comeback from a broken thumb that caused his absence from the game for 11 weeks, and his previous weakness — his tackling — is no more.
Six weeks ago, he resumed playing and observers immediately noticed a complete change in attitude from the previously wavering Bosch who had lost confidence and form.
Bosch told MTN’s Bok Squad that the break plus sessions with sports shrink Kirsten van Heerden (the ex-swimmer) had helped him rediscover his love for the game.
Ironically, Bosch broke his thumb playing the Stormers in a pre-season friendly staged at the venue where it all started for him — Grey High in Gqeberha, where he was a schoolboy star.
“Mentally, the long break was exactly what I needed,” Bosch said. “It was the longest I’ve ever been out since I left school so I had time to reflect on where I am and where I want to go.
“Mentally it was refreshing for me … it sort of gave me a chance to miss the game again — especially as I couldn’t pass a rugby ball for 11 weeks. I did see a psychologist for a while to refocus my mind.
“Last season I was very frustrate because my rugby was not where I wanted it to be, and because of that I became more results-orientated,” Bosch said. “Every game I’d set goals and all I wanted was to achieve those goals, losing the love of the process.
“So it boiled down to restarting, looking forward to training each day, bringing the enjoyment back to training instead of looking from Saturday to Saturday. It was simple things I already knew but needed to hear from someone else, someone outside of rugby.”
Bosch won two Test caps for the Boks as a teenager, one in 2017 and one in 2018, but dropped completely off the national radar. However, if he continues to play with confidence and maintains his vast improvement in defence, then a recall at some stage is not impossible.
In this regard, Bosch says he takes inspiration from how Manie Libbok played his way from nowhere into the Bok team.
“Springbok ambitions will always be there, it’s the reason I fell in love with the game from a young age. But — and this is going to sound funny — it was part of the reason my form went into a dip in the last few seasons.
“I got so down and disappointed when I didn’t make a squad that it ended up affecting my performances. It’s going to sound boring, but I’m not even taking things week-by-week anymore, I’m taking them day-by-day.”