Coetzee hints at future Boks
NEWS: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee made a brave statement when he, along with Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell, shared some words of wisdom with the Under-18 Craven Week and Academy Week players at Kearsney on Wednesday.
At a special function where a player from each participating Union could ask them questions, Coetzee stated that there is a possibility that some of the participating players could form part of the 2019 World Cup squad.
"You may not believe me, but some of the players participating in these tournaments this week may be members of the 2019 World Cup squad, so keep working hard to achieve your goals. A number of Springbok players including Frans Steyn and Eben Etzebeth didn't play for the SA Schools team and they became top Springboks," Coetzee said.
Coetzee opened up the evening with the remark that the talent at school level in South Africa was among the best in the world, and he encouraged the players to learn as much as they could and to put in the extra effort to improve their game to become the best players they could be.
"There are talented players and hard-working players, and hard work will always beat talent unless talent works hard. Back yourself and keep working hard even if you don't make the SA Schools squad," he added.
Powell echoed Coetzee's sentiments and named a number of Springbok Sevens players who made the first meaningful steps in their careers in the Youth Weeks.
"The Youth Weeks serve as the bedrock of development in South Africa and some of the top Springbok Sevens players such as Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe and many other star players have come through these structures.
"In fact some of our top players were drafted into the SA Sevens Academy directly from these competitions and they are now stars on the World Sevens Series," Powell stated.
National selector Peter Jooste, as well as SA Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman and former Springbok Sevens player, Paul Delport - who fulfils the role as an assistant coach in the Men's and Women's national Sevens structures - have attended the Youth Week tournaments to scout for players who have the potential to make it to the highest level of the game in the next few years.