On paper the Sharks have recruited a strong under-19 squad for the first time in many seasons. 2018 will mark 10 years since the Sharks last topped the log or won the national provincial under-19 title – a very poor stat indeed for a union of their size!
Significantly 2017 was Michael Horak’s first full year in charge of the Sharks recruitment process and the word on the street is that he’s best man in the position since wise old Gavin Melvill was unwisely let go towards the start of the John Smit reign as CEO. The job is not just about spotting talent with the work ethic and potential to make it all the way to the seniors, it’s about closing deals as well. Marketing the Sharks junior programme and facilities had obviously proven difficult in the face of some very stiff competition for the signatures of top players for Horak’s predecessors.
There are no guarantees of success in the national provincial under-19 competition but at least supporters can feel confident that their team can realistically set their sights on finish first in the regular season and challenging for the title again. This was definitely not the case during the previous few campaigns when just making the playoffs via fourth spot seemed like it would have been a huge achievement.
Added good news is that experienced Sean Everitt will return from the senior pro team coaching to lead the programme for this junior side. If the Sharks want to hit the ground running, his input could prove vital. Perhaps extra consideration also has to be given to where the right cut-off lies between player involvement in the local under-20 club rugby season scene versus being withdrawn to focus on preparing for the under-19 provincial season.
The contracted player squad is:
|POS||NAME||SCHOOL||PROVINCE||HIGHEST SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT|
|PR||Sean Barnes||DHS||KZN Sharks||Academy Week|
|PR||Francois Klopper||Voortrekker (Beth)||Griffons||Craven Week|
|PR||Ruhan Oosthuizen||Florida||Lions||Craven Week|
|PR||Adriaan Staples||Paarl Gim||Western Province||Academy Week|
|HK/FL||Dylan Richardson||Kearsney||KZN Sharks||SA Schools|
|HK||Fezokuhle Mbatha||Maritzburg College||KZN Sharks||SA Schools|
|LK||JJ vd Mescht||Glenwood||KZN Sharks||SA Schools|
|LK||Dre Engelbrecht||Paarl Gim||Western Province|
|FL||Vian Fourie||HJS Paarl BH||Western Province||SA Schools|
|LF||Philip van Dyk||Paul Roos||Western Province||Craven Week|
|FL/No8||Phendulani Bhutelezi||DHS||KZN Sharks||SA Schools|
|FL/No8||Adam Mountfort||Selborne||Border||Craven Week|
|SH||Sanele Nohamba||DHS||KZN Sharks||SA Schools|
|FH||Boeta Chamberlain||HJS Paarl BH||Western Province||u16 Grant Khomo 2015|
|FH||Kieran Houlston||St John’s||Lions||1st XV|
|FH||Murray Koster||St Andrew’s||EPCD||Craven Week|
|CT||Le Roux Malan||HJS Paarl BH||Western Province||1st XV|
|CT/WG||Siphamandla Matsinya||Dale||Border||Craven Week|
|CT/WG||Henk Cilliers||Grey College||Free State||Craven Week|
|WG||Caleb Dingaan||Weston||Boland||Craven Week 2016|
|WG/FB||Thaakir Abrahams||HJS Paarl BH||Western Province||Craven Week|
|WG/FB||Muller Du Plessis||Paarl Gim||Western Province||SA Schools|
The Sharks’ mainly dismal under-19 history over the last 10 years:
|#||YEAR||WINNERS||TOP OF LOG||SHARKS RECORD|
|1||2008||Sharks||Sharks||Beat WP 31-18 in Final|
|2||2009||Lions||Free State||Sharks did not make playoffs|
|3||2010||WP||WP||3rd (lost to Bulls in Semi)|
|5||2012||WP||WP||3rd (lost to Bulls in Semi)|
|6||2013||Bulls||Bulls||3rd (lost to Lions in Semi)|
|7||2014||WP||Bulls||4th (lost to Bulls in Semi)|
Note: Over the same 10-year period the Sharks under-21 team has played in and lost two finals (2009,2011) and although they have generally outperformed the under-19’s results wise during this time they too have failed to make the playoffs for the past two seasons just like the under-19’s.
Remembering the Sharks’ last junior rugby win 10 years ago:
From the News24 / Witness archive: https://www.news24.com/Archives/Witness/Sharks-U19-Win-makes-it-a-double-20150430
There was a double dose of celebration at King’s Park on Saturday as the Sharks U19 gained a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved 31-18 win over title-holders Western Province in a rousing U19 final.
The U19 side, helped this year by a solid pack and with former Springbok coach, and now Sharks commercial manager, Rudolf Straeuli chipping in, have enjoyed an excellent season.
There was an intercept try to Western Province and a penalty, but Sharks fullback Faizel de Bruin scored an excellent long-range try to lift the local side.
The Sharks led 14-10 at the break when captain Ross Cronje kicked a drop-goal with time up on the clock. He kicked a 40 m penalty moments into the second half (17-10) and then flank Cameron Dunlop bundled over for Cronje to convert (24-10).
The victory was sealed when Province lost the ball on attack and Sharks centre Arno van Zyl raced through to score (31-13).
There was a consolation try for WP in the dying moments, but the Sharks had taken the first piece of silverware on offer at King’s Park.
Sharks scorers: Tries Arno van Zyl, Cameron Dunlop and Faizel de Bruin. Conversions: Ross Cronje (2). Penalties: Ross Cronje (3). Drop goal: Guy Cronje
The Blue Bulls scored a converted try after the final hooter to win a disappointing U21 final when they beat Free State 20-18.
Sharks u19 team:
15 Faizel de Bruin
14 Mark Richards
13 Arno van Zyl
12 Wynand Pienaar
11 Logan Basson
10 Guy Cronje
9 Ross Cronje (Captain)
8 Meyer Swanepoel
7 Lambert Groenewald
6 Cameron Dunlop
5 Kenechukwu Okafor
4 Jan Andre Marais
3 Julian Redelinghuys
2 Johannes Snyman
1 Dale Chadwick (Vice Captain)
16 Kyle Cooper
17 Pierre Hanekom
18 Francois Robertse
19 Renaldo Bothma
20 Justin Botha
21 Howard Mnisi
22 Damien Jansen van Rensburg