Ricochet News

SA Schools rugby squad dominated by Sharks and Lions, EP selections unluckily omitted

By Marc Jacobson - Jul 28, 2017
SA Schools rugby squad dominated by Sharks and Lions, EP selections unluckily omitted

The South African Schools side was announced on Thursday, following deliberation after the Coca Cola Craven Week concluded last Saturday, which saw the Lions claim the unofficial tournament triumph, when they stampeded the Sharks 45-18 in the ‘final’.

The two finalists, however, both dominate the SA Schools squad of 28, each lending over nine players – a combined 18 players from the two franchises alone.

Free State, an almost disguised unit of Grey College’s 1st XV, who were unbeaten at the Craven Week and were unlucky to not make the ‘final’ cut, only contributed three players to the SA squad – all three from Grey College. Western Province contributes four players to the squad.

FS, however, thumped the Craven Week successors, WP 54-33 on Saturday, and have also resultantly scored the most tries out of any team with a total 28 in their three games, so the side can feel well-aggrieved for the little recognition that they received.

One of those FS three, however, will blaringly be a future rugby prospect in the country, in the form of 102kg and 1.92-metre tall centre, Rikus Pretorius, who had represented the SA U19 side in 2016 too.

FS flyhalf, Christian Schreuder, also marked a statement to earn his selection, after kicking his side to the highest kicking success rate in the Craven Week, with 23/28 of his kicks at goal converted.

In total, seven players who were selected in the squad of 28 also represented the SA Schools and SA Schools ‘A’ side in 2016 respectively – the aforementioned Pretorius being one of them.

Pretorius and winger Muller du Plessis from WP, schooled at Paarl Gymnasium, are the only two from last year’s SA Schools side, while scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba (Sharks), flankers Dylan Richardson (Sharks) and Mark Snyman (Lions), lock Juan van der Mescht (Sharks) and prop Keagan Glade (Lions), all represented last year’s SA ‘A’ team.

Eastern Province, can certainly feel even more stricken though, with not a single representative selected for the SA Schools squad, especially after the boys from Eastern Cape produced some stellar showings at the Craven Week.

Winning two of their three games, EP upsettingly went down 27-22 to neighbours South Western Districts on day one, followed by an exemplary 37-0 thrashing over the Blue Bulls on day two and a narrow 29-26 win over the Leopards on Saturday.

Special name mentions from EP should go to Grey High flanker, Bevan Prinsloo, who was absolutely industrious and tireless throughout the week, but was one shock omitted selection in the national schools squad.

EP scrumhalf, Chad Adams and props Le-Kleu Stokes and Elmar Eldon, all three from Hoërskool Brandwag, as well as hooker Viaan Wolmarans from Hoërskool Framesby; can all also count themselves really unlucky to not make the SA Schools squad selection.

Powerful Selborne College eighth-man, Adam Mountford from Border, and dynamic SWD prop, Dan Bleuler (Oakdale Landbou) were also both unlucky omissions from the squad.

With no SA ‘A’ schools side having been selected this year, the SA Schools squad, sponsored by Coca Cola, will assemble in Stellenbosch on Sunday 6th of August, where they will prepare to face Wales, France and England respectively between the 11th and 19th of August.

The captain and vice-captain, are still set to be named shortly after the squad’s assembly.

“This is a talented group of players and we are excited to work with them ahead of the tournament,” Head Coach, Lance Sendin, said after the squad was announced.

“We have no doubt that a huge challenge awaits in the series, but this is an exciting time of the year for us all and we will give our best to be successful in the series.”

SA Schools squad:

Adrian Alberts (lock, Western Province, Paarl Boys’)
Morne Brandon (hooker, Golden Lions, Monument)
Phendulani Buthelezi (No 8, Sharks, Durban High)
Jordan Clarke (prop, Sharks, Glenwood)
Vian Fourie (flanker, Western Province, Paarl Boys’)
Keagan Glade (prop, Golden Lions, KES)
Travis Gordon (No 8, Golden Lions, KES)
Ruhann Greyling (hooker, Free State, Grey College)
Celimpilo Gumede (lock, Sharks, Durban High)
Joachim Martins (flanker, Western Province, Paarl Gym)
Nkosikhona Masuku (prop, Golden Lions, Parktown)
Fezokuhle Mbatha (hooker, Sharks, Maritzburg)
Banele Mthenjane (prop, Pumas, Nelspruit)
Asenathi Ntlabakanye (prop, Golden Lions, St Stithians)
Dylan Richardson (flanker, Sharks, Kearsney)
Mark Snyman (flanker, Golden Lions, Helpmekaar)
Juan van der Mescht (lock, Sharks, Glenwood)
Christen van Niekerk (lock, Golden Lions, Monument)
Diego Appollis (utility back, Blue Bulls, Garsfontein)
Hillegard Du Plessis (wing, Western Province, Paarl Gym)
Jaden Hendrikse (scrumhalf, Sharks, Glenwood)
Yanga Hlalu (centre/wing, Golden Lions, KES)
Qamani Kota (wing, Griffons, Welkom Gim)
Conan Le Fleur (wing, Sharks, Glenwood)
Kennedy Mpeku (fullback, Golden Lions, KES)
Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf, Sharks, Durban High)
Rikus Pretorius (centre, Free State, Grey College)
Christopher Schreuder (flyhalf, Free State, Grey College)

Image: Rikus Pretorius in action for the SA Schools side against Wales in 2016.