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Future stars are shining bright

A whopping 629 points have been scored in the eight matches that have been played – 296 on Day One and 333 on Day Two. It boggles the mind that such numbers can be produced by high school boys.

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Although the second day produced more points, the opening day of the tournament certainly produced better rugby in terms of quality.

For the most part, as is probably the case in the modern era, backline players tend to stand out a lot more as they produce the exciting runs, fancy footwork and game breaking moments while the forwards are there to do the dirty work.

That statement rings true as, of the 13 players identified, 10 are backline players and three are forwards. Four of those 10 spots are flyhalves and three are fullbacks while up front, two loose forwards have put their hands up.

By far, the best player of both stands has to be Golden Lions centre Wandisile Simelane. The 2015 South Africa Schools player made everyone take notice of him with a personal haul of 29 points, that included a hat-trick.

Growing up in Soweto, it is not often that a young man chooses this sport over soccer, however, he has and what a decision that has turned out to be.

"Initially, I played soccer while growing up in Soweto until Grade Five before one of my teachers got me to play in his rugby team. As things turned out, I eventually participated in the Under-13 Craven Week which was followed a scholarship to Jeppe [High School for Boys].

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"Once I was at Jeppe, I quickly realised that I had an opportunity to become a professional player," he told rugby365com.

He is just one of many highly talented, naturally gifted players who are taking every chance handed to them and will certainly be someone to keep a close eye on.

In the flyhalves department, Simelane's team mate Tyrone Green displayed a calm head and the vision to exploit his side's strength – their midfield. Another 2015 SA Schools player, Damian Willemse of Western Province was being talked about before the first kick-off and he certainly delivered with a composed performance on Monday.

Pumas' Stephan van der Bank is another highly rated flyhalf who lived up to expectations while South Western Districts' Xavier Swartbooi emerged as a wildcard who loves taking the ball to the line.

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There's a close race for the standout fullback thus far as the Blue Bulls' Abner van Reenan was influential in his side's victory on Tuesday while Limpopo Blue Bulls' Danny Mokhoabane is an exciting prospect. However, WP's Gianni Lombard has the edge as he continues to churn out performances of the highest order.

Manuel Rass is an entertaining centre, diminutive in statue but gigantic in courage and skill. Sibonakaliso Dubazane is a nippy scrumhalf who provides crisp service, reads the game well and has the ability to control the tempo of the match.

The two standout loose forwards are the Sharks' Phendulani Buthelezi and Phillip Krause of the Blue Bulls while WP's captain Salmaan Moerat is a no nonsense lock who is not afraid of a little contact.

While just a few have been mentioned, many more will put their hands up as the week progresses. It all makes for an exciting prospect as we inch closer to the business end of the competition.

By Tauriq Ebrahim

@Tauriq365

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