Jesse and Daniel Kriel will join the Bulls in 2013

It might have been the worst kept secret but it is over now. The Bulls have confirmed that Maritzburg College’s uber-talented twin brothers, Jesse and Daniel Kriel have signed with the Pretoria based outfit and will represent their junior team from 2013 onwards.

It seems like the Bulls scouts identified the Kriels fairly early on in their careers and made an initial approach while they were still at under-16 level.

The Sharks seem to be finding very difficult to hold onto talented local players these days. Another player that really stood out in 2011, Glenwood’s Carel Swart is also believed to be on his way north after school, where he will link up with numerous school teammates including Shaun Adendorff who was recently shortlisted for the JWC under-20 player of the year.

A few years ago, Heyneke Meyer along with head scout Xander Janse van Rensburg put into action a plan backed by a hefty budget and in co-ordination with the University of Pretoria (Tuks) that has since seen the Bulls contract many, perhaps too many for comfort, of the star schoolboy players from around the country.

This year’s prize signing has been Handre Pollard from under the noses of Western Province. They however also acquired the services of talented Queens College flyhalf Josh Stander and had an option on 2011 SA School’s pivot Jaco van der Walt, which they are believed to have since relinquished.  There are similar instances of this “overstocking” in just about every position. Jesse Kriel will himself have to battle it out with the flashy Garsfontein fullback Jaco Hayward for a starting spot in 2013.

One cannot help but wonder if the Bulls actions are good for SA rugby in the long run. Perhaps the bottlenecks in the Bulls system will eventually result in player discontent and departure, thus restoring the balance in SA rugby. Another view is that because SA has an abundance of talent, opportunities which might not otherwise have come about, will now be made available to other young lesser known players at unions like the Sharks. Marcell Coetzee is a good example of this, having been a SBR player off the radar in 2009 and  now a Springbok just two and a half years out of school. One thing is sure though, the Sharks recruitment methods, which to a certain extent has relied on the appeal of the Sharks Academy and the coastal lifestyle has become outdated and is in desperate need  of a revamp.

62 Comments

  1. Heard Reegan Smith the College No8 and Captain is heading that way too, big loss!

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  2. Good luck to these two young gentlemen…brush up on the lingo a bit and take the bull by the horns, rugby is slightly different up here and I am sure they will enjoy it…what strikes me as somewhat od is the fact that people from up here think the sharks is the way to go and people from kzn talk the sharks down as a choice…

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  3. @beet – having said that, it seems the sharks get caught with their hands in their pockets every year when it comes to closing the deals so to speak…or they take what the bulls and wp dont want…

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  4. @boxkick: It has to be of concern. Not so long ago the Sharks would pull out the old chequebook and sign a senior pro like they did with Jannie du Plessis, Gerhard Mostert and Willem Alberts type players. It hasn’t been that easy in recent seasons. Even getting guys from smaller unions is proving difficult. The Sharks have brought through many via their Academy in the past but the basis of that in most cases has been known SBR quality in quality out when it comes to Academy products. The challenge is now to either turn unknowns into knowns or up their game.

    On the other hand I guess if a team is well tuned into their future needs, based on requiring 5 new players to make the step up to senior level every year, they could sacrifice quantity and target just quality. In this regard the Sharks aren’t in a bad possie. This year we’ll struggle to put a team on the u19 field that can make it to the playoffs of the Currie Cup but there are certainly quality players in there that will make it to senior level.

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  5. Lots of truths here in this report , Academy has lost its shine , Education needs to be considered , and Varsity College is going a long way I think in trying to fill this gap, if they can get into Varsity Cup , things could change
    Also one just needs to look how Natal /Sharks Rugby don’t spend money on Clubs and especially on Youth Rugby , the u18 and down, Clubs should be encouraged and not restricted to playing and working , giving boys outside the school Tier one structures to participate and be recognized. However this is somewhat restricted, but should be an area to encourage growth of the sport and participation, with the Schools not playing third term, boys should be encouraged to go across to clubs and play there, as it was said, 3rd Term is a vacuum, also boys can play and mix it with players that were opponents at the school games,
    But Money as the Bulls did , needs to be allocated initially , and a Tertiary Educational system that the boys can get quality out of and we can see this change, you can see Tuks has helped the Bulls, let’s see if VC can do the same in some way for the Sharks, but leave the strutting and personal agendas out of it

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  6. @greenhopper – agree with you wrt VC and or tertiary institutions, however, seldom have i seen more money and emphasis on club rugby as in KZN…elsewhere as up here on the vaal, its non existant…its a real shame and people are just not interested in club rugby anymore – hell, they r not even interested in vodacom cup, you just have to look at the attendance of these matches…the sharks seems to be willing and able to buy in older players at senior level – meyer bosman, riaan viljoen, marius joubert etc as apposed to developing and granting opportunities to young and upcoming guys….lately they give the odd guy a go but over the past couple of years not and thats where they go wrong – check out the vodacom cup 9, a solid old grey boy with pedegree – he wont be there for too long unless he gets more opportunities at a higher level, i mean he wasnt even in the 22 for the last game…and IMHO that is one of the areas where I think the side is thin…

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  7. @boxkick: Yes. This has been a problem with Plumtree. Most evident in last year’s Currie Cup when he had opportunities to bring young players into the mix ahead of the 2012 Superugby season but didn’t.

    The youngster is Kobus Reinach, one of the last Grey Bloem players the Sharks have managed to contract as even that supply line has dried up.

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  8. I honestly think that a major problem for the Vodacom Cup is that it runs simultaneously with Superugby. Viewers and spectators are always going to opt for the SR. However in terms of value, it far outweights even the Varsity Cup as it attempts to match strength vs strength at a higher level. The quality of rugby is better and so is the calibre of players involved. Adding to it the smaller unions stand a better chance as well.

    I think if organisers want a higher profile Vodacom Cup, move it away from the weekend and to smaller grounds. These have been 2 things that have worked well for the Varsity Cup apart from the extra marketing.

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  9. All the emphasis is now on Varsity cup rugby. KZN have to try and keep club rugby alive as they have no Varsities. If there are no clubs then who will the academy guys play for. Varsity College is a ‘poor mans’ attempt to get into the Varsity Cup but at least they are trying. What about the Sharks putting money into Dbn Varsity an Pmb Varsity? It is like talking to a brick wall as it will compete with the Academy.

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  10. @boxkick: Because we do not have any traditional Varsities left in KZN and the interest is not there to make this right.

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  11. @boxkick: IHMO you are right , young players need game time, and the Sharks strength will wane, they need to develop Club , it where it all starts , and it starts with the school boys , as I said , in the third term , get them to go to Club, Club needs to loosen its ‘red tape” and encourage teams to join , get the boys playing here and the hype will build , when you can see a varied mix of players at Club you can also not look at only the CW boys , but talent in this area and look at developing this , But problem is not many OLD FAT CATS in KZN rugby , this needs to change

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  12. @boxkick: @boxkick: IMHO of the Big 5 Unions, the Sharks are the ones that are in most need of imports to sustain a challenge. There is plenty to pick from in the Old Transvaal and W/Cape and Grey Bloem would provide the Cheetahs with all the quality they needed if all stayed put. However the Sharks need to bring quality in order to stay competitive. So I’m not fussed about imports outnumbering locals. There are still a number of local players at u20 club rugby level in Durban. The real concern, as someone else has already mentioned, is the losing of talented players when you don’t have that much to begin with but do have the money to keep them. Here I’ve heard things from study opportunities being limited in Durban to not receiving a counter offer to discontentment with the coach, being offered up as reasons for leaving

    I think the Kriels story is along the lines of the Sharks now being slow at IDing and securing the services of talent in their own province, that other unions are getting to these kids first. However if one looks at our junior structures, there are a number of homegrown products that have come thru in the recent past.

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  13. @all – its a real pitty…maybe its a bit naive too from the sharks – i mean, they did and is doing so well to build and promote the brand to let it slip this way….ai or should i say eish!!!

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  14. @All Black: I guess the off the field aspect of the Varsity Cup is also important. Kids don’t necessarily relate to the on the field action as much as they do to the party vibe and girls in the crowd. Maybe it’s more the Varsity lifestyle (and obviously career study opportunities) more than the rugby side itself that is attracting youngsters.

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  15. I also think that very little boys and or parents are streetwise when it comes to signing contracts with unions like the bulls….it all seems “cool” to have a bulls contract but what needs to be kept in mind is that you are one of approx 4 or 5 even 6 guys with that same deal…does anyone know how many junior flyhalves they have, i bet its at least 6

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  16. I also wanted to add that my opinion without experience is that if a player is truly serious about making it as a rugby professional, a university environment isn’t as good as correspondence. A player needs to be able to dedicate time to the sport of rugby and fit in his studies around that, not vice versa. I think there are a number of pro players that will attest to this opinion.

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  17. @boxkick: This leads me to think of something that I hope the Kearsney ERF organisers change. The Sharks Academy use it as their marketing tool. To me, it would be far better if the school endorsed the approach of allowing all tertiary institutions and rugby academies to canvass on site. Allow each to have a gazebo on the field next to the main field and encourage parents and players to listen to what all have to say, so that they can make informed decisions and hopefully learn that there is also a lot of BS to sift thru during these sales pitches.

    But so agree with you. Its not good for SA rugby to have the 5 best SBR in a particular position at 1 union. We have never had this in the past and there are bound to be adverse spin-offs IMHO.

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  18. @beet – kearney festival is in part sponsored by VC not? If so, it will never happen…having said that, it should put the sharks at an advantage as it has access to all the top schools in one location….pray the bulls dont put a festival like that together LOL

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  19. @boxkick: As far as I’m aware the main sponsors are Mr Price and Illovu Sugar.
    That is amongst my reasons for keeping all parties happy. In these fast moving and changing times, its quite easy to imagine someone else seeing the benefit of an exclusive festival to market their product/s. Therefore I think if one keeps all parties happy at an existing festival, it eliminates the need to set up a rival. It could be a win-win situation for all. Players, parents and unions. At the moment it isn’t. There was talk that scouts from other regions were not allowed at KERF this year. :roll:

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  20. @boxkick: The Varsity Cup sponsors the bursary awards on behalf of the Academy at KERF. That however did not work out too well this year. Firstly only interested players were asked to apply which drastically reduced the numbers to choose from and probably gave the academy an indication of how unpopular they have become and then of the 3 winners, 2 defaulted, leaving only the reserve wing from Gimmies as a winner.

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  21. @beet – firstly, alot of the scouts attended, free state, wp, hell I even spoke to Gerrie Germishuys(UJ) this year at KERF – again, naive in my view to think or hope there was no scouts from elsewhere…So, is the Gimmie wing coming to Durban?

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  22. Just thinking about the calibre of the players going to Bulls next year,it’s scary to imagine how good their u19 side will be next year. Very possible u19 backline next year 9.JP Smith (Queen’s) 10. Josh Stander (Queen’s) 11. Milani Mqhayi (Dale) 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Waterkloof) 13. Daniel Kriel (Maritzburg) 14 Jaco Hayward (Garsfontein) 15. Jesse Kriel (Marizburg)

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  23. @boxkick: A Bulls scout was very irate about it in the lead up to KERF, saying on twitter that he had heard he was not allowed to attend. I asked Hans just before KERF and he denied it. My guess is that was the initial plan which was then aborted. Either that or the Bulls scout was trying to spread a false rumour but I won’t know what the motive or intention behind that would be so have to believe it was true.

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  24. @ludz – I think Josh has a hope in hell if he thinks he is going to start with Pollard there…not sure they will play Pollard in SR just yet so Josh and Pollard should be in the group with the Waterkloof 10 also..Jessie Kriel will play wing though IMHO

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  25. @HORSEFLY NO.1: The latest I heard is that Jaco vd Walt is staying with the Lions

    @RuggaZ: I though Sergeal Petersen was sticking with the Kings

    @boxkick: I have a feeling that Pollard will be fast tracked to u21 level. They have spent too much on him to keep him in the u19s. However I don’t know what that will mean for Tony Jantjies’ future at the Bulls. He’s a player they’ve had on the books for a while now but it may be time to cut him loose. Perhaps he’s EP Kings material???

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  26. @beet
    That’s a loss for kzn! But we do have some really good flyhalves in Du Preez,Cope, Zeilinga,Campbell and Prinsloo.
    Is Anderson in matric?

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  27. I think my lightie should change to singing, the Kearsney choir did well, and there are’t as many talented singers as there are damn good fly halves around…eeeeish.

    Beet, my jersey looks a little red…any maroon, Bwah ha ha.

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  28. @Boxkick I’ve watched enough of Joshua Stander to know that he can challenge any of the u18 flyhalves for a starting spot in any team,the only thing Pollard has on Josh is a superior passing game and longer skop,that’s all

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  29. I think talented rugby players in high school should try shy away from Bulls in the next couple of years, although good I think they sign to many players without thinking. The centre departments already fulled with the last 3 years of SA Schools centre all going there besides Paul Jordaan. They already have 3 of the countrys most talented school flyhalfs there.

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  30. @kcob: okay I’ve gone to the trouble of the looking for the exact colour hue for Maroon = 128,0,0 for those that were in Mrs Tullidge’s or Mr Harper’s art class at school. :mrgreen:

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  31. @HORSEFLY NO.1: Yes Anderson is in matric.

    The key thing to understand about recruitment is that the process has no start and no ending point. You can take a snapshot but realise that it is ongoing. For example although the Sharks had Kankowski, Daniel, Alberts, Botes, Deysel they still brought in Coetzee and look at the benefits derived from that. One could quite easily have said that the Sharks are adequately covered at loose-forward at the beginning of 2011.

    Further down the line we have Tera Mthembu, Franna Kleinhans, Groenewald and Cloete in the wings. Thereafter there is Braam Steyn, Khaya Majola,sadly we lost Jafta to retirement. Then we have recently acquired a real talent in Johan Meyer.

    Not all the guys will make it to the top but all have an opportunity and a role to fill along the way.

    With only 6 major junior rugby development centres around including Pukke, its also essential that the best players get handed the right opportunities along the way so we have to accept that quality players will enter the post school system every single year.

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  32. @LUDZ – and I know the bulls mate – if there is one thing they look at it is the length of the boot…sorry boet by die bulle tel die voet

    @beet – the bulls have francois tredoux at under 21 next year and daddy is high up at the bulls so dont hold your breath…

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  33. @boxkick: Good point. And Tredoux isn’t a bad player either. The benefit is that he’ll be a 1st year u21 player. Sometimes in those situations you can be expected to warm the bench but for a younger player when your dad has a say??? :-? Interesting times ahead in Pretoria hey Boxkick.

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  34. @boxkick you make a very valid point there,but hopefully the Bulls can utilize both in some way or the other and in a manner that won’t hinder each’s development

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  35. @ludz – thats just it you see…they sign you just because you might be a threat and then use you here and there whilst others get game time elsewhere and by the time you realise you are not so much in the running to make it there no one else wants you…JL Potgieter is but one example at 10

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  36. @boxkick: Very interesting points there. Obviously the Bulls will never admit to either. With so much quality heading to Pretoria now, there is a huge risk to SA Rugby that some guys who have the ability to make the difficult step up to senior level won’t even get out of the starting blocks and will in all likelihood have to start over again, demotiviated and probably at a much smaller union or at a lower lever than their talents merit.

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  37. I think everyone over reacting here re the Bulls. Surely there is lots of talent out there that the other unions are getting? If not, why are they not getting it? The Bulls have a program that allows for good club/Varsity rugby, possible provincial exposure and the opportunity to study, across the road at a top Varsity. Where else in South Africa can you do this? Youngsters dont even have to have a car as everything is within walking distance and you are part of a huge student/sport environment. At the Sharks you will be training/practicing with 200 odd players, some who are cricketers, soccer players etc. It is about balance between rugby, fun and studying. This is what you get.

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  38. @all black – thats a miss conception(the balance thing)…also, tuks is not walking distance to loftus mate…when you can, attend a training session at the junior bulls – you drop a ball a couple of times as a backline player and they tell you straight keep going(towards affies) and go back to school and learn how to catch a ball….these guys dont stuff arround…anyway, the point i am trying to make is that parents need to be more street wise when it comes to signing a contract anywhere…

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  39. @All Black: I don’t think anyone can really challenge the quality of the Bulls HP facillities, they are world class from what I’ve been told. Its the excessive acquisition of talent that may cause a problem. Competing in strength vs strength games is where a great deal of development happens and in the Bulls setup, its looking less likely that players that are good enough and should be given these opportunities will get them.

    On the otherhand I have to refer back to a brief discussion that I had with a promising KZN player last year before CW. I thought he would be perfect for the Sharks style of rugga but he was going to the Bulls. When I asked why, he indicated that there wasn’t an offer on the table from the Sharks and he had received one from the Bulls months before. Obviously not every kid has the benefit of streetwise parents to guide them with these big decisions and perhaps a bit of panic sets in. Not every youngster can be represented by a Union Sports Group agent. So the Bulls can’t take the can for getting all these top notch youngsters. The other unions need to up their recruitment game and facilities as well if need be.

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  40. @All Black: And the Sharks need to get streetwise as well now. Gone are the days that they can hold out til after CW in the hopes that a top player will join the Academy and maybe paying his own way. As we can see all these top guys are now off the board before the 1st team season even starts.

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  41. @all black – its a miss conception that there is a balance between rugby, studies etc…club rugby is non existant outside of VC….for the bulls its about the bulls and what they can get out of you as player and thats all, what happens outside of loftus couldnt bother them one bit…I am also not attacking parents like you point out, just saying there needs to be insight into what you sign etc etc ect…..

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  42. @boxkick: Are you saying that the Sharks etc are going to care what happens outside of Kings Park? They dont even support a local Varsity so how are young rugby players expected to get educated as well. The Bulls work with Tuks whose primary function is education. I am not blindly supporting the Bulls but also showing the failings of KZN. Stellenbosch is the next choice for the reasons given above. Do you know how many KZN kids are going there next year? I can give you the numbers from the last 2 years and you will be amazed. A damn side more than are going to Tuks and the Bulls. It just so happens that bursaries are linked to Maties and not WP so one cant see the numbers.

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  43. 240 boys at the Sharks Academy? How many in each position there? Careful of the name calling.

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  44. @ all black – ja….and only 9 had sharks contracts…the rest attended acadamy in a hope

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