Picking your SA Schools team

As we await the SA Schools selections it’s always a bit of fun to jot down your own team so here are a few things to consider if you want to be a little more serious about the exercise…

Transformation targets

At this stage a lot of us have opinions on who should and perhaps should not be in the mix. If you do pick your own side and want it to be an accurate reflection remember the actual team is probably going to be a 50:50 split in terms of Previously Disadvantaged and Non-Previously Disadvantaged players to use two relatively safe words. :-)

Formbook

Very few of us actually know what the SA Schools selectors take into account in their decision making. Every year SARU’s budget seems to get a little tighter so they can’t execute many of their desired plans to identify the right players. On the bright side technological and other advancements still take place in SA and these no doubt improve the networking and put SA Schools decision-makers in better positions each year to know who the school rugby circuit star players are (if those officials choose to do their homework or work with the accessible data). Also SARU is still able to arrange various camps and other training sessions for earmarked (“elite”) players over various age-groups along the way. So come Craven Week selectors should know stuff that we as members of the general public generally don’t.

So the question here is what do you reward? Do you look only at current form and fitness of players at the Craven Week or do you want to look at form over a longer period of time and factor in injured players who might return to full fitness? Also do you hand an advantage to “elite” players in positions where the calls are tight to make? These are important criteria because I have seen a few good selection deserving players not do themselves justice at Craven Week over the years while in other cases a few sleepers during the season have really come to live and hit their straps at the right time.

It’s also worth noting that there is an international under-18 test series to be contested. Picking your team might even shift the focus towards selecting the kind of team you believe will succeed in winning all their games. Some of you who know me well will know where I’m going with this. Size matters in my books. Not in all positions but as an overall package I believe you do not want to go into battle with a small team. For those who think SA is obsessed with size, yeah you can get away with the argument to an extent but do yourselves a favour, browse over the stats of the test players from the recent New Zealand – British & Irish Lions series. It will give you perspective that rugby caters for a few small players here and there but is definitely not a small man’s game at the higher levels.

Just so it doesn’t come across as if I’m contradict myself here I want to add that I am a strong believe of keeping the school game pure, meaning I believe it’s a game played in their spare-time after school by full-time students and therefore the rewards should go to the achieving students who play rugby. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who think school rugby is for semi-pros who attend school classes on the side. Back to the point about size, whether I or anyone else likes it or not, there is a realisation that Craven Week and SA Schools is an intersecting point between schoolboy rugby run by the schools and pro rugby run by SARU and the respective Rugby Unions. With regards to rugby the entities have different objectives and value systems. For SA Schools, SARU’s objectives will have the overriding say.

Future

I added this because we all do it at some stage. We measure the success of past SA Schools teams by the number of Springboks they produced. It’s not an accurate conversion assessment for a whole bunch of valid reasons but we love doing it anyway. I think it does add to the pressure. The last thing the selectors or you would want to do is pick a squad of SA Schools players who end up going nowhere in senior rugby. More immediately two years done the line, many of the same core group compete for Baby Bok under-20 squad places. The under-18 internationals do serve a purpose in that under-20 development path. This eye on the future is one area where being a selector or SARU official provides a massive advantage over those of us with only game-time knowledge of the players because they ought to know something about the players’ personalities. Character is a big deal. At school level a player can still get away with reliance on talent. After school talent will only get the same player half way to where he wants to be. His willingness to work his butt off accounts for the other 50% of standing a chance of fulfilling his dreams and/or making it to the pros one day. Improving the conversion success rate goes hand in hand with selecting players who show positive signs of having the right kind of self-discipline.

47 Comments

  1. And I am back. My SA schools side based on 80% CW performance in my own opinion and 20% beertent chatter. Picking a squad of 26 players. 14 forwards and 12 backs. Positions together but in no order at position level.

    Prop – Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Lions)
    Prop – Nkosikhana Masuku (Lions)
    Hooker – Ruhann Greyling (FS)
    Hooker – Fudge Mbatha (Sharks)
    Prop – Keagan Glade (Lions)
    Prop – Keynan Knox (Sharks)
    Lock – Cristen van Niekerk (Lions)
    Lock – Janko Swanepoel (WP)
    Lock – JJ van der Mescht (Sharks)
    Loose – Mark Snyman (Lions)
    Loose – Vian Fourie (WP)
    Loose – Marcel Theunissen (FS)
    Loose – Travis Gordon (Lions)
    Loose – Pepsi Buthelezi (Sharks)
    Scrumhalve – Vusile Dlepu (WP)
    Scrumhalve – Sanele Nohamba (Sharks)
    Flyhalf – Christopher Schreuder (FS)
    Wing – Santino Swanepoel (Lions)
    Wing – Muller du Plessis (WP)
    Centre – Rikus Pretoruis (FS)
    Centre – Diego Appolis (Bulls)
    Centre – Henk Cilliers (FS)
    Wing – Dawid Cary (Lions)
    Wing – Angelo Davids (WP)
    Fullback – Bonianga Mpeku (Lions)
    Fullback – Qamani Kota (Griffons)

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  2. @Hooit: You are pretty much spot on with your team, but they may go with a squad of 28, 3 tough games in 7 days.
    Would also consider/add a loosie Maartins or Richardson, a flyhalf Coetser (only if completely fit) and a centre Solaan or Hlalu.

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  3. Jaco Labuschagne (loose) and Marnus Potgieter (centre) of the Bulls must surely be in contention as well. Both players had a great week in a weak Bulls side. Perhaps also, Charles Goedhals, Bulls as a utility back. Another player which will be considered is James Combrink (prop). He has recently returned from an ankle injury and has made some telling runs with ball in hand.

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  4. @Aftrap: So put up your Affie SAS team. Just keep to the 26 squad with 50/50 split. Easy to comment. Difficult to pick.

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  5. My team
    1) Masuku 2) Venter 3) Knox 4) Van Niekerk 5) Van Der Mescht 6) Dylan Richardson 7) Theunissen 8) Buthelezi Capt 9) Nohamba 10) Van der Bank 11) Abrahams 12) Hlalu 13) Mpeku 14) Cary 15) Du Plessis 16) Mchunu 17) Schreuder 18) Mbatha 19) Combrinck 21) Glade 22) Appolis 23) Andre T
    16-Could play flank or lock, 17-Could play Center or Full Back or Fly Half, 22-Could play Full Back, 23) Any where on the park but mainly on the bench

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  6. @BoishaaiPa: Only problem is I only have one #10. Would like to include van der Bank of Pumas but need to drop someone. If 28 then U include Stephan van der Bank(Pumas) and Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks)

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  7. @Grizzly: Beytell is going to be obe of our 7’s greats. The Falcons team and Union did not help him by using him all over.
    The SARU squad I used to make 50/50 calls but I think about 70% of my squad is part of SARU squad.

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  8. @Bush: I did mine on Friday already..just not on this thread.

    @Hooit: I would maybe just look for a spot for that one EP Prop in place of Knox, You also picked 4 wings..Will bring in Prince Nkabinde..Drop Davids and Swanepoel and bring in vd Bank as extra 10. Cilliers can cover for wing as well.

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  9. @Hooit: Nohamba (9 from KZN) is already part of your original 26 man squad. Just mentioned that he can cover 10 as he did for KZN.

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  10. @VaskopVleuel: You cannot play Nohamba at flyhalf in an international, require a specialist like Coetser or Van der Bank to back up Schreuder. Between wing and fullback you only need 5, as Muller and Kota versatile, so Cary may lose out, brilliant finisher but defensively maybe too small ?

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  11. @BoishaaiPa: Youre team not meeting 50/50 criteria.
    @Snoek:You cannot drop Cary and include Van der Bank. Team then not meeting criteria. It is not as easy as most think.

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  12. Ek worry nie regtig oor kriteria nie sal egter vir schreuder en beytell op 10 wil he met pretoruis en cilliers op 12 en 13 du plessies op 15 Fourie op 6 marcell op 7 en nkabinde op 11, die sharks se 9 was good

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  13. @Bush: I think Andre T has been the stand out player of the CW. Any province he goes to in 2018 will have spent their money wisely. :mrgreen:

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  14. @Snoek: Ja nee jul is erger as n klomp stout seuns in n meisies koshuis.
    @Boishaai Old Boy: I can confirm that Andre T’s birth certificate is fake. He is not 18 anymore. Got this info from a few girls that have met him the past weekend

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  15. Can anybody confirm when the SAS team will be announced? Wednesday, tomorrow, at 20h00 on first xv rugby program?

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  16. @hooit very good team indeed. I would like to see Prince on the wing and maybe Conan le Fleur at 13 . Would be quite a strong midfield with Rikus at 12. Also I think Tino Swanepoel punched way above his weight and was special. And Tinus was not bad at 9. But I would only have all of these as backup supporting your squad. I feel sorry for Beytell being one of the top try scorers at 10 in 2016 and 2017. But believe he will make his trade playing for the Blitzboks.

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  17. @Hooit: I can pick who I want, it’s my team!..I dont have to adhere to any SARU directives! ..Thus..my team based on CW performance only..

    Prop – Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Lions)
    Prop – Eldon Lotz (EP)
    Hooker – Ruhann Greyling (FS)
    Hooker – Fudge Mbatha (Sharks)
    Prop – Keagan Glade (Lions)
    Prop – Lekleu Stokes (EP)
    Lock – Cristen van Niekerk (Lions)
    Lock – Janko Swanepoel (WP)
    Lock – JJ van der Mescht (Sharks)
    Loose – Mark Snyman (Lions)
    Loose – Vian Fourie (WP)
    Loose – Marcel Theunissen (FS)
    Loose – Travis Gordon (Lions)
    Loose – Pepsi Buthelezi (Sharks)
    Scrumhalve – Ross Braude (FS)
    Scrumhalve – Sanele Nohamba (Sharks)
    Flyhalf – Christopher Schreuder (FS)
    Flyhalf – Murray Koster (EPCD)
    Wing – Prince Nkabinde (Pumas)
    Centre – Waqar Solaan (EP)
    Centre – Diego Appolis (Bulls)
    Centre – Conan le Fleur (Sharks)
    Wing – David Cary (Lions)
    Wing – Henk Cilliers (FS)
    Fullback – Muller du Plessis (WP)
    Fullback – Qamani Kota (Griffons)

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  18. @BoishaaiPa: Well done Mnr, thats a great side but Hooit’s is better as he has the best Tight Prop of CW in his lineup. House 2 3 House

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  19. @BoishaaiPa: In that case I will drop a wing and add van der bank and do a swap on 1 player but it remains my secret. But you have a good team. Like youre locks.??

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  20. A few shocks for me.. I’m a Sharks fan but I didn’t expect to see so many of the boys make. Well done to them.

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