Craven Week u13 to u18 conversion rate

It’s quite well known that the u13 to u18 Craven Week conversion ratio is low.

South African provinces make up 18 of the 20 participating team at the under-18 Craven Week in 2017. That’s 414 of the players at Craven Week (and add a few for injury replacements). Of that number I could only find 84 players who had under-13 Craven Week in either 2012 or 2013 on their CV’s as well (see the list below – any help with identifying more boys would be much appreciated).

In my opinion this low conversion ration does not tell the whole story but it does tells a story. What isn’t measured is the value that many of the under-13 Craven Week players who are awarded high school sports bursaries and scholarships and then never go on to play under-18 Craven Week, add to their relative high schools, particularly the 1st XV level where the results count most for school marketing. In a number of cases, schools feel the sometimes large amounts invested on such players over a 5-year high school career have been justified even if there is no provincial honours near the end.

On the other hand there are also some big spending flop stories. Physical size counts for so much at primary school level and the intensity is a fraction of what it ends up being like at high school, that there are a number of examples where under-13 Craven Week players couldn’t even make A-teams at their high schools or were overtaken by non-sponsored schoolmates in playing in the same positions somewhere along the way to under-18 age group level.

Because of this seemingly low correlation between the primary and high school Craven Weeks, once in the past I’ve asked why  SARU don’t scrap the u13 Craven Week and spend the money on say an u17 youth week where chances of senior rugby talent identification as a goal is a lot clearer. The feedback was something along the lines that in terms of one of SARU’s goals, the u13 Craven Week actually serves as a really good talent identification tool of a different kind and that perhaps if the budget allowed for it, there would be two regional under-13 Craven Weeks as opposed to one, which would allow for even more primary schools players to participate. So quite an interesting perspective of the bigger picture and perhaps a realisation that in order to ensure a healthy supply of good high school players, it’s worth investing in the primary school and grassroots level game.

# JERSEY# u18 CRAVEN WEEK NAME SCHOOL u18 Craven Week u13 Craven Week
1 1 Warren Nkobane Cornwall Hill Blue Bulls Bulls 2013
2 7 Jaco Labuschagne Affies Blue Bulls Bulls 2012
3 21 Keagan Johannes Garsfontein Blue Bulls Boland 2012
4 22 Regardt Roets Affies Blue Bulls Bulls 2013
5 2 Matthys van der Merwe Hermanus Boland Boland 2012
6 8 Marco Griebenauw Augsburg Boland Boland 2012
7 20 Michael Goodall Hugenote Boland Boland 2012
8 4 Stephan Nieuwenhuizen Selborne Border Border 2012
9 7 Andre Rust Selborne Border Border 2012
10 8 Adam Mountford Selborne Border Border 2012
11 10 David Coetzer Selborne Border Border 2012
12 11 Jarred du Plessis Hudson Park Border Border 2012
13 13 Sibahle Kuhlane Selborne Border KZN 2012
14 17 Andile Nondwangu Cambridge Border Border 2012
15 22 Sibabalwe Xamlashe Selborne Border Border 2013
16 18 Kwanele Tshungwana Dudumayo Border CD Border CD 2013
17 2 Ruan Jonker Grey HS Eastern Province EP 2012
18 7 Hendrik du Toit Nico Malan Eastern Province EP 2013
19 12 Waqar Solaan Grey HS Eastern Province EP 2012
20 13 Ayabonga Matroos Grey HS Eastern Province EP 2012
21 14 Dean Jordan Brandwag Eastern Province EP 2012
22 18 Janu Fourie Nico Malan Eastern Province EP 2012
23 20 Desmick Kleinbooi Framesby Eastern Province EP 2012
24 22 Uan Tait Grey HS Eastern Province EP 2012
25 21 Johannes Lombard Gill EPCD EP 2012
26 1 Andile Maxamba Louis Botha Free State Free State 2012
27 2 Ru-hann Greyling Grey College Free State Free State 2012
28 3 Naude Naude Grey College Free State Free State 2012
29 6 Teboho Rampai Louis Botha Free State Free State 2012
30 8 Arno Nieuwoudt Grey College Free State Free State 2012
31 9 Ross Braude Grey College Free State Valke 2013
32 11 Wyclef Vlitoor Grey College Free State Border 2013
33 12 Rikus Pretorius Grey College Free State Griquas 2012
34 13 Janco van Heyningen Grey College Free State Free State 2012
35 14 Henk Cilliers Grey College Free State Free State 2012
36 15 David Kriel Grey College Free State Griffons 2012
37 18 Herman Agenbag Grey College Free State Free State 2013
38 23 Jayden Seekoei Louis Botha Free State Free State 2012
39 2 Morne Brandon Monument Golden Lions Golden Lions 2013
40 4 Cristen van Niekerk Monument Golden Lions Golden Lions 2012
41 6 Mark Snyman Helpmekaar Golden Lions Valke 2012
42 11 Santino Swanepoel Florida Golden Lions Golden Lions 2013
43 12 Yanga Hlalu KES Golden Lions Pumas 2012
44 13 Leon Mpeku KES Golden Lions Valke 2012
45 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye St Stithians Golden Lions SWD 2012
46 20 Franco Schutte Monument Golden Lions Golden Lions 2013
47 23 Muzilikazi Manyike Jeppe Golden Lions Golden Lions 2013
48 4 Daniel Hattingh Afrikaanse Kroonstad Griffons Griffons 2012
49 12 Keith van Aswegen Welkom Gim Griffons SWD 2013
50 21 Georgen Kiewiet Welkom Gim Griffons SWD 2013
51 22 Dealin Jafta Hentie Cilliers Griffons SWD 2012
52 10 Charles Williams Diamantveld Griquas Griquas 2012
53 16 Nolan Coetzee Noord-Kaap Griquas Griquas 2013
54 22 Ramon Sauls Noord-Kaap Griquas Griquas 2012
55 4 Darryl Waterboer Griquas CD Griquas 2012
56 15 Jacques Marthinus Hotazal Griquas CD Griquas 2013
57 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha Maritzburg College KZN Sharks KZN 2012
58 7 Dylan Richardson Kearsney KZN Sharks KZN 2012
59 10 Dylan Pretorius Glenwood KZN Sharks Pumas 2013
60 11 Cham Zondeki DHS KZN Sharks Border 2012
61 15 Siyanda Cele Glenwood KZN Sharks KZN 2013
62 17 Thabiso Mdletshe Glenwood KZN Sharks KZN 2013
63 18 Brendon Schwulst Glenwood KZN Sharks KZN 2012
64 21 Jaden Hendrikse Glenwood KZN Sharks Border 2013
65 13 Mitchelle van der Merwe Potch Gim Leopards Golden Lions 2012
66 1 Banele Mthenjane Nelspruit Pumas Pumas 2013
67 15 Coenraad Visser Middelburg Pumas Pumas 2013
68 1 Sibusiso Vilani York SWD SWD 2012
69 10 Magnus Muller Oakdale SWD SWD 2013
70 13 Hanu Heunis Oakdale SWD EP 2013
71 15 Johannes Klinck Oakdale SWD SWD 2013
72 17 Dawid Meiring Outeniqua SWD SWD 2012
73 19 Emileo Otto Outeniqua SWD SWD 2012
74 20 Darryn Fortuin Outeniqia SWD SWD 2012
75 9 Ruben Beytell EG Jansen Valke Valke 2012
76 15 Mpho Ntsane Transvalia Valke Valke 2012
77 23 Franco Pienaar Transvalia Valke Valke 2013
78 3 Tristan Leitch Paul Roos Western Province WP 2012
79 6 Vian Fourie HJS Paarl BH Western Province WP 2012
80 8 Francke Horn HJS Paarl BH Western Province Boland 2012
81 11 Thaakir Abrahams HJS Paarl BH Western Province Boland 2012
82 18 Joshua du Preez HJS Paarl BH Western Province Boland 2012
83 21 Gerado Jaars Paul Roos Western Province WP 2012
84 22 Mogamat Karriem Rangers Western Province WP 2012


  1. It is interesting to note that provinces like Boland, Border, Griquas and EP has a great conversion rate from /13 to /18 level.

    Teams like KZN, Freestate, Lions and WP has a great conversion rate with other provinces /13 to their /18 teams.

    Just a quick calculation shows that about 60% of players that moved is PD players.

  2. Just from u/12 to u/13 level there was a big drop with my sons group last year, if I remember correctly it was almost 60%. Personally I think SARU will do much better to build coaching capacity at school level. Sean and many others have shown what a difference a good coach can make. The idea that u/13 players are identified for the future makes very little sense to me, I would love to know what the thinking is. Last year at the Marlow u/13 tournament there were guys from SARU to identify talent so they could track them. My question is, if you invest in them how are you then going to justify the time and money put into them if they don’t make it? In future will other kids then miss out because they didn’t perform at u/13 rugby? I think SARU must create the systems and structures for schools to develop the kids but they shouldn’t select provincial teams till u/18 level. Each province should rather have rugby weeks where regional teams play and SARU can then judge the level of the rugby for that region and give assistance if needed. My main concern is that there is very little material available to teachers to see how and what to coach to especially primary school kids. If we want to “transform” and improve our rugby we have to find a way that as many as possible kids have access to proper coaching and the only way I think you can do that is by coaching the teachers. German soccer have done just that, they missed out on a WC or European Cup if I am not mistaken and they then decided to invest in their coaching from junior level, I think they have three times as much FILA accredited coaches as England. Within a short time they were one of the top teams in the world again.

    As for the schools, fact is, if you don’t go to a top rugby school in South Africa your chances of getting CW in one of the strong provinces are very slim. The top schools in most cases got better coaches and players to compete with so the average hard working boy is going to struggle if he is in a average school, unless he is seriously talented. You got two choices in my opinion, you have to lift the level of coaching in our school structure or you need to give these hard working average boys a platform where the top schools can see them so they can be picked up by these schools to give them a better chance.

  3. @Smallies: any idea what the conversion rate is for U18 CW? I would guess that there are probably on average less than 10 future Boks at each U18 CW.

  4. Beet. I mentioned this fact on another thread, some time ago. From the 396 players of 2010 u/13 Craven week in Graaff Reinet, only 33 players were still in the provincial u/19 mix last season, going on your stats. This number have since then, also showed a big drop, and although I have not seen all the unions junior (u/19/21) contracted players for this year, I know of quite a few that did not receive extensions to their contracts.

  5. @Carl de Kock: Sommige spelers se enigste hoop op lewens verbetering is daai kontrak. Dit kan n voet in die deur kry by n naskoolse opvoedkundige instansie en is dalk enigste inkomste potensiaal wat daai speler het. “Dont knock it until you have been there!”..

  6. @BoishaaiPa: Ek dink niemand moet kontrakte kry nie. Na skool moet almal by klubs speel. Dan word jy vir die provinsie gekies. Jy oefen na werk, net genoeg wedstryd geld vir pizza en ‘n paar biere. Dan word jy vir die Springbokke gekies, en jy speel 4 toetse per eek op toer terwyl jy met die pos boot reis…..

  7. @Rainier: Ek stem in n mate saam met jou. Ek voel egter dat daar tog junior kontrakte aangebied kan word, maar daar moet n maksimum aantal per unie toegelaat word. Junior kontrakte is, met enkele uitsonderings, nie so n vinnige geldmaak storie nie. Dan word die manne, wat nie hul kant bring nie, ook sommer baie vinnig uitgelig. Verreweg die meeste junior kontrakte is net vir n jaar.n Speler se toekoms as n moontlike toekomstige profesionele speler, word taamlik vinnig bepaal, en unies is terdee bewus dat daar talle andere in die sisteem is, om die wat nie die mas opkom nie, te vervang.

  8. @Rainier: Nou praat jy, ek seg dit al lank. My klong het na skool ‘n werk gekry en kon deur hulle swot. Hy wou egter MMA profesioneel doen, ek het hom toe ‘n keuse gegee. As hy swot sal ek help maar MMA sal hy self moet sorg. Hy het vir meer as ‘n jaar in ‘n kamer binne die gym gebly en baie swaar gekry maar vandag word hy gesien as een van die beste “prospects” in die efc. Hy sal heel waarskynlik binne die volgende jaar of wat in Amerika deelneem. My punt is dat meeste seuns eers moet bewys dat hulle wil rugby speel en sal opoffer om ‘n loopbaan van rugby te maak. Ja jy gaan altyd jou Naas en Schalk tipe seuns kry maar vir die meerderheid werk dit anders. Selfs Francois Pienaar het geseg dat hy op skool en selfs na skool met baie better ouens gespeel het as wat hy was maar hulle het nie die passie gehad of hard genoeg gewerk nie. Ons klubs en varsitys moet weer ons hoof voeder word van ons pro spanne. Dit is hoe New Zealand dit doen, nie eers hulle “currie cup” spellers kry vol kontrakte nie maar slegs kontrakte vir die duur van hulle provinsiale comp. Net hulle super rugby spelers kry vol kontrakte.

  9. Skrap die o/19 en o/21 Currie Cup en speel o/20 Currie Cup. Doen dit en die unies sal heel moontlik klaar die helfte minder kontrakte gee. Manne soos Bosch kan maar dadelik groot rugby speel as die unies dink hulle is goed genoeg.

    Terloops ek weet van twee Boishaai seuns wat verlede jaar eerste span gespeel het en nie rugby kontrakte by ‘n unie gekry het nie, hulle het wel by Maties rugby beurse gekry. So daar is wel ander geleenthede vir die rugby seuns.


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