Paarl Boys’ High head coach Peter Engledow looks like he is in charge of a high calibre team on par with the three teams his predecessor guided to the national number one ranking during three remarkable unbeaten local seasons in a row.
The 2021 team’s season opener started with a bang, then hit a bit of a speed wobble before halftime, then regained composure in a very mature fashion and finally put the foot on the accelerator again to close out 59-21 winners against Welkom Gim, who themselves are a decent team.
Two players stood out for Boishaai.
COMPION VON LUDWIG
Many elements of flyhalf Compion von Ludwig’s game reminds one of Damian Willemse at the same age. Willemse may be battling his own demons in senior rugby right now, but he was once a prized player equipped with a range of skills that made him one of the best players at under-18 level.
The number-10 jersey is one in which Boishaai has enjoyed much success over the last decade or so. Pedigree players slash match winners in the form of Gavin Hauptfleisch, Jean-Luc du Plessis (who I personally contend was the best provincial under-19 flyhalf I have seen play), Boeta Chamberlain (who’s injuries cut short his 1st XV career), Abner van Reenen and Kean Meadon have donned on the jumper. Gianni Lombard who played fullback at school has also been capped in this pivotal role by the Golden Lions Rugby Union. And now von Ludwig, whose talents are at the very least set to bracket him with the aforementioned and turn him into as high profiled a schoolboy rugby player as you get during any given season.
Tribute video of Compion von Ludwig
When one thinks of the most influential second-row players at Brugstraat in recent time, its difficult to consider a more formidable partnership than the one forged between Ruben de Villiers and Salmaan Moerat in 2015. They were core players. Unstoppable that season! For 2021 in Coetzee le Roux and Ruan Venter, there is a combination capable of similar feats. Le Roux was tower of strength against Welkom Gim. The headline grabber was however Ruan Venter. The under-19 who was named 2020 captain of Sutherland High School in Pretoria where his father is the deputy headmaster and where he earned Bulls Academy Week colours in 2019, is on course to have the same sort of one season impact as another under-19 Abner van Reenen had in the undefeated 2017 campaign. Venter played like a rampaging bull in the Welkom Gim game, producing one of those performances that immediately gets committed to long-term memory. When one thinks back on the Monument Centenary Festival in a few years time, an associated image of Ruan Venter on a big-ball-carry should come to mind.
Ruan Venter 2019 Tribute video and his highlights package from the Welkom Gim match in 2021: