SA schoolboy players heading overseas
SPOTLIGHT: There were scouts again at the 2019 Craven Week, including those from Australia, France and England. Now 22 school boys are heading overseas on rugby contracts – three to Australia, one each to England and Ireland, two to Japan and a whopping 13 to France.
Of the players, seven are from Grey Bloem, three from Paul Roos, two each from Affies, Garsfontein and Paarl Gim, and one each from Bethlehem Voortrekker, Milnerton, Noordheuwel, Paarl Boys’ High, St Andrew’s Grahamstown and St John’s.
None is from a KZN school. Two from Selborne College, Jarrod Taylor and Jacques Goosen, were offered contracts in France but preferred to go to the Sharks Academy. Far from “losing” players, the Sharks have gained players. But then it has a well-run academy that looks at more than rugby.
That good schools players are going overseas so soon is perhaps sad, perhaps unwise, but not a cause for distress. This year, 46 players were chosen to play for the two South African Schools teams. Of those 46, players Zeilinga Strydom, George Cronjé and Jan-Hendrik Wessels of SA Schools and Jarod Cairns, Pierich Siebert, Rynhardt Rijnsburger and Jacques-Lois du Toit are on the list for overseas – seven out of 46. Mind you, that does not include Kade Wolhuter, Robbie Rodgers and FC du Plessis, who were not considered for selection, apparently, because they were already contracted to head to France in 2020.
In a way, of course, it is a compliment to the standard of schools rugby in South Africa that overseas organisations are so interested in South African schoolboys.
There have been changes in attitude to schoolboy players in South Africa, Recently the Blue Bulls had 54 players contracted as schoolboys. Their next intake will be four.
The South African Rugby Union has decreed that unions may have only 45 contracted senior players, with a salary cap of R60 million. The salary cap for junior players is R10 million.
There is a school of thought which believes that it better to contract players as young as possible, thereby saving a big outlay in trying to get established players.
There is another school of though which believes it a waste to contract young players as it is five years or more before young players can start to finding a places in senior rugby teams, such as Super rugby sides and that more fall by the wayside than make it in the end. The early developers are rare – flyhalves Handré Pollard, Patrick Lambie and Damian Willemse and not many more. As a thought, Kade Wolhuter could follow in their footsteps, a flyhalf with an astonishingly mature boot.
There are those who believe that a much better pathway is through university and Varsity Cup rugby, which means that the player will have a chance to develop academically and on the rugby field. Getting playing contracts at 18 and 19 is seen as short-term, limiting and shortsighted.
For many players there is the language barrier in going to France, perhaps landing in an academy of a disappointing standard.
The South Africans who have made it in France and played for France have gone across as mature players – Scott Spedding, Bernard le Roux and Pieter de Villiers. For somebody not born in France or of French descent, there is a waiting period of three years. That is a World Rugby regulation that applies to all countries.
The players, named in Sunday’s Rapport newspaper, are (by School) with Craven Week team, SA Schools, position and destination
Tiaan Jonker: Free State, n/a, lock/eighthman, Melbourne Rebels in Australia
Marcell Muller: n/a, n/a, wing, Montpellier, France
Lesley Botha: Free State, n/a, centre, Montpellier, France
FC du Plessis: n/a, n/a, flyhalf, Toulon, France
Danwich Beukes: Free State in 2018, n/a, flank/lock, Toulon, France
George Cronjé: Free State, SA Schools, eighthman, France
Jan-Hendrik Wessels: Free State, SA Schools, prop, France
Jarrod Cairns: Western Province XV, SA Schools A, loose forward, Melbourne Rebels, Australia
Kade Wolhuter: Western Province, n/a, fullback/flyhalf, Montpellier, France
Robbie Rodgers: Western Province, n/a, prop, Montpellier, France
Werner Kruger: Blue Bulls, n/a, Stade Français, prop, France
Jacques-Lois du Toit: Blue Bulls, SA Schools A, hooker, Stade Français, France
Zeilinga Strydom: Blue Bulls, SA School, fullback ck, Stade Français
Jaryd Scheepers: Blue Bulls XV, n/a, lock, University in Australia
Pierich Siebert: Western Province, SA Schools A, flank, Japan
Stephan du Toit: Western Province XV, n/a, centre, Japan
Steyl Barnard: n/a, n/a, lock, Béziers, France
Romuald Ntumba: Western Province, n/a, flank, Pau, France
Sergio Moreira: n/a, n/a, lock, Montpellier, France
Paarl Boys’ High
Rynhardt Rijnsburger: Western Province, SA Schools A, prop, unclear
Chris Poole: Eastern Province, n/a, hooker, Ulster, Ireland
Alexander Groves: Golden Lions XV, n/a, lock, Bristol, England
In August this year two teams were chosen to compete in a tournament with Argentina, England, France and Wales.
SA Schools: Geraldo Flusk (Garsfontein & Blue Bulls), Keane Galant (Drostdy & Boland), Zeilinga Strydom (Garsfontein & Blue Bulls), Tarquin Manuel (Stellenberg & Western Province), Tyler Bocks (Paarl Boys High & Western Province), Henco van Wyk (Golden Lions & Monument), Mntungwa Mapantsela (Selborne & Border), Kian Meadon (Paarl Boys High & Western Province), Boldwin Hansen (Hermanus & Boland), Jurich Claasens (Garsfontein & Blue Bulls), Bobby Alexander (Paarl Gimnasium & Western Province), George Cronjé (Grey College & Free State), Gideon van Wyk (Paarl Boys High & Western Province), Jarrod Taylor (Selborne & Border), Siyemukela Ndlovu (Northwood & Sharks), Keketso Morabe (Welkom Gymnasium & Griffons), Simon Miller (St Alban’s & Blue Bulls), Dylan de Leeuw (Paul Roos & Western Province), Connor Evans (Bishops & Western Province), Wandile Hlope (Maritzburg College & Sharks), Blaine Golden (Glenwood & Sharks), Sibusiso Shongwe (Jeppe & Golden Lions), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Grey College & Free State), Okuhle Siyeni (Westville & Sharks), Jacques Goosen (Selborne Border), André-Hugo Venter (Grey College & Free State).
SA Schools A: Sibusiso Javu (Selborne & Border), Sonwabo Sokoyi (Grey College & Free State), Nsuku Baloyi (Menlopark & Blue Bulls), Indiphile Tyeda (Dale & Border), Jacques Rossouw (Paarl Boys High & Western Province), Joseph Iye (KES & Golden Lions), Quan Horn (Paarl Boys High & Western Province), Sihlalo Benge (Queen’s & Border), Jordan Hendrikse (Glenwood & Sharks), Daimon O’Connell (Selborne & Border), Kabelo Mokheti (Jeppe & Golden Lions), Izan Esterhuizen (Monument & Golden Lions), Jarod Cairns (Paul Roos & Western Province), Renzo du Plessis (Ben Vorster & Limpopo), Pierich Siebert (Paarl Gimnasium & Western Province), Josh van Vreden (Selborne & Border), Marco van Rhyn (Paarl Gimnasium & Western Province), Sisonke Vumazonke (Grey College & Free State), Cornelus Rahl (Oakdale & South Western Districts), Raynard Roets (Garsfontein & Blue Bulls), Gerhard van der Merwe (Garsfontein & Blue Bulls), Philip Masango (Wynberg & Western Province), Rynhardt Rijnsburger (Paarl Boys’ High & Western Province), Dimakatso Lebelo (Waterkloof & Blue Bulls), Jacques-Lois du Toit (Affies & Blue Bulls), Teague Loelly (Westville & Sharks)