The list of schoolboy players involved in under-19 Currie Cup rugby continues to grow. This week EG Jansen’s successful captain Pieter Jansen will be in action for the Lions against Border while the selection of talented Innocent Radebe, the St Stithian’s and Golden Lions flyhalf on the Sharks under-19 bench for Saturday’s match against Western Province has come as a bit of a surprise. Not so much in that this confirms that he has signed for the Sharks but more so because he currently resides in Jozi, where he schools. So the Sharks have gone through the effort to fly him in for training and the game. Add to this that the Sharks seem to have quite an able flyhalf back-up in Colin Willemse* (Langeberg, Boland) who is a terrific little attacking player to watch with ball in hand. Off course the kingpin of the Sharks under-19’s is their first choice flyhalf JL du Plessis (HJS Paarl BH, WP). Under normal circumstances, JL is not the sort of player a coach ever thinks of subbing (he has been switched to fullback at times). This game is a little different though. The Sharks look set to finish in third place on the log irrespective of the outcome so perhaps a good time to experiment with a schoolboy youngster like Innocent. Give him a taste of what to expect in 2014 might be the underlying goal here.
Interestingly the Sharks have proven that they will go to extremes to get a signed player in if need be. Last year SA Schools star lock Gideon Koegelengberg (Hugenote, Boland) was brought into the team for about a month. That was however a special circumstance. The Sharks had a serious lack of height in the lineout and desperately needed a go-to man like Gideon. He’s presence in the set-piece helped turn their season around in 2012.
This really emphasises an important point about schoolboys playing in the junior Currie Cup. Yes for a union to pick you indicates that you are good, you’re big enough, strong enough, fast enough, mentally and physically tough enough to meet the demands of playing against full-time players. However you also get picked because in your particular position, your union has a need that they cannot fulfil with the desired quality out of their available post-school player stock. In other words RULE NO.1 : getting picked for an under-19 team does not mean you are any better than your SBR peers who have not been afforded that same opportunity at their unions. Therefore neither does it mean you are any closer to playing in the Junior World Championships ahead of anyone else. Over the years it’s definitely gone both ways. Some school leavers with junior rugby experience take this kind of opportunity and never look back while others have battled for recognition just a few months later.
Here’s a list of 12 SBR players currently involved in the under-19 Currie Cup set-up:
|1||Cameron Wright||Scrumhalf||Sharks||Hilton||A bit of a veteran of CCu19 now. Cameron is into his 2nd year. I’ve long gone past the point of claiming that I won’t harp on about it so here it goes once again: Cameron has all the skills required to become a world class scrumhalf.|
|2||Jonas Mikalcius||Flank/Lock||Sharks||Northwood||In hindsight this Lithuanian “exchange student” probably should not have been allowed to play local KZN SBR for Northwood this year given the agreement that applies in the province. Nevertheless as a player Jonas has the physical attributes, the heart and the workrate. His biggest obstacle appears to be lack of quality rugby experience, having played most of his live in a system that would struggle to compete with the SBR C and D teams in SA.|
|3||Ayron Schramm||no.8||Sharks||Kearsney||A classy player. Perhaps a bit unlucky not to have made SA Schools. Considering that he has only been playing no.8 for just over a year now, his progress is remarkable. His positional play, linking and reading of the game suggests he’s a natural for No.8|
|4||Ox Nche||Prop||Free State||Louis Botha||Ox is one of those names that could easily be on Dawie Theron’s final list for JWC 2014 duty. Still lots of hard work ahead in terms of scrumming strength & technique improvement but he is in good hands in the Free State.|
|5||JD Schickerling||Lock||Western Province||Paarl Gim||Of all this year’s SA Schools players, John Dave has to be the nearest if not at the top of the pile when it comes to JWC 2014 consideration. He is the full package and also one of those players who could quite easily develop into a top class international one day. It doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to see him climbing to those dizzy heights in pro rugby.|
|6||Dewald Naude||Wing||Western Province||HJS Paarl BH||A nice balanced & quick runner with penetration and x-factor. Dewald’s track record tells that he is pedigree.|
|7||Jarryd Sage||Centre||Western Province||Wynberg||A good sized centre. Highly rated. Jarryd might even turn out to be one of those players that goes straight to u21 after school.|
|8||Sampie Hearn||Centre||Golden Lions||EG Jansen||“Sampie, my seun!” as you’d often hear the Oos-Randers shout from the stands. The quality that stands out most about Sampie is his strength on his feet. Any player that is able to stay upright in contact in on track to success & Sample compliments this with decent pace & an unmistakable toughness|
|9||Estian Enslin||Flank/Lock||Golden Lions||EG Jansen||A 1.97m tall broad youngster with good mobility. His physicality is also impressive. As a result he’s one of those players who is just as valuable as a support player who hits rucks hard & clears out as he is in the role of a ball-carrier. If he’s well managed, he can add a lot of value.|
|10||Edwin Harris||Fullback||Golden Lions||Florida||Has a good variety of skills including a good boot & comes across as being a decent ballplayer with some neat executions|
|11||Gertus vd Walt||Centre||Golden Lions||Monnas||The younger brother of former Sa Schools flyhalf Jaco, Gerdus’ has certainly been one of the surprise selections for CCu19 but has made good progress this season.|
|12||Quinton Terblanche||Prop||Golden Lions||Alberton||Flying the flag for the smaller schools, Quinton has had 5 games for the Lions & proves that a player does not have to attend a big rugby school to get somewhere fast after school. Just ask the likes of Marcell Coetzee (Port Natal), Arno Botha (Nylstroom), Pieter-Stef du Toit (Swartland) or Damien de Allende (Milnerton)|
|13||Stephen Rautenbach||Wing||Free State||Grey College||A tall back with attacking flair & a reasonable boot. Lethal when presented with just the smallest bit of space.|
|14||Andre Swarts||Flyhalf||Free State||Grey College||Free State excited about this pivot’s future potential. He did very well at Academy Week.|
|15||Casper Fourie||Flank||Free State||Grey College|
|16||CJ Coetzee||Wing||Free State||Jim Fouche|
|17||Marchell Hattingh||Fullback||Leopards||Potch Gim|
*Colin Willemse usually plays fullback for the Sharks u19s