Everybody loves a rugby player with a bit of x-factor and flair. The golden boys of the game, who live in the hearts of the older supporters and on the walls of the youngster generation.
Rugby will always have these players. They are the ones who make this game such a great spectacle to watch. Players such as Peter Mkata, Naas Botha, Julian Smith, Joost van der Westhuizen and Brent Russell enthralled us with their skill and rugby intellect, which was sometimes higher than some of the coaches they played under.
A great example of this was Brent Russell, the former Springbok fullback and flyhalf. We managed to break this golden boy down to where his self-belief was totally shattered.
Russell (pictured) had an extraordinary ability as a rugby player to beat defenders with his pace off the mark and stepping ability. He had a couple of memorable Tests for the Springboks. in the mid-2000s.
But some coaches tried to change his attacking nature to fit into the South African way of playing. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, and Russell never really reached his true potential as an international rugby player.
In 2017 we have another bright star coming through; a player with immense potential. And already we have to ask ourselves how are we going to nurture this talent. How are we going look after this kid so he can fulfil his potential.
Curwin Bosch has more rugby ability in his DNA than many coaches and players put together. Because such a talented player is so rare, he is tricky to work with and very difficult to coach.
Your average rugby player doesn’t often become frustrated, it is the genius’ of the game who are so far above the level of the norm who can become disenchanted if the game is too simple.
Firstly, most of these “once-in-a-generation” talents can play anywhere, in any position, and will do better than most of the players. But they should be destined for one position, and one position only.
Do not let us walk the same bumpy road with Bosch as we did with natural talents like Russell, Francois Steyn and others, making them fill in where we have a problem or a hole to fill.
Although Bosch can and will fit in, we are doing him, the teams he plays in and the country an injustice. It is our duty to get the best professional help around him, people who played in that position for years and can share the good and the bad.
Let us give the boy best support systems of the corporate world around him. Let us make him understand his ambassadorial role he can play for his country.
Moreover, and most of all, please do not put him in a box. Let him loose and give him freedom to trust his instinct and individual brilliance within a parameters of the team’s principles.
This kid will bring South African rugby fans so much joy over the next decade if he is properly managed, because he already has the maturity at a such young age. He is truly FAT player. Faithful, Available and Teachable…