Profile: Abongile Nonkontwana
Although he played for SA Schools last year, St Albans captain Abongile Nonkontwana's biggest goal this year is to play at Craven Week.
The imposing utility forward forced his way into the SA Schools side last year when he was in Grade 11 through some impressive performances at the Academy Week, but missed out on playing at Craven Week which is something he intends to rectify.
Nonkontwana started his high school career at Selborne College in East London, and went on to captain the Border Under-16 side at the Grant Khomo week before relocating to Pretoria at the end of Grade 10.
"It took some getting used to as it is a completely different atmosphere and there is not as much depth or competition for places as there was at Selborne," he explained.
A shoulder injury meant that Nonkontwana was not picked for the Blue Bulls Craven Week team last year, but his form at the Academy Week was too good to ignore and he went on to get a taste of international rugby when he played for SA Schools against Wales.
However, he admitted that there is significant pressure on him to repeat what he managed to do last year.
"It is a lot harder this year as there are expectations on you to deliver in your Matric year so the challenge is almost greater," he said.
The 1.95 metre forward plays at lock at provincial level but at No.8 for St Albans, as the role at the back of the scrum allows him to have more of an influence on the game.
Although he did not play last week due to a niggling hamstring injury, Nonkontwana expects to be fit for the FNB Classic Clash against old rivals Menlopark on Wednesday.
"There is lots of history between the sides and both schools are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year so there should be plenty of Old Boys there for 'the battle of the 50's'," he said.
The St Albans captain managed to watch Menlopark play against Pretoria Boys High earlier this season and was impressed with what he saw from them.
"They looked very good in loose play, so we will have to stop them offloading if we want to avoid them getting some continuity going against us," he said.
St Albans take some encouraging form into the match having only lost two games – against Wynberg and St Stithians – with the most memorable victory for Nonkontwana so far being the last-minute win against Hilton.