With the WPRI already having produced the likes of DHL Stormers and/or Springbok stars Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Cheslin Kolbe and Juan de Jongh in recent seasons, there is plenty of excitement over the talented Class of 2014.
Ten SA Schools players have chosen to join the WPRI for next year, five local and five players who were schooled outside of the Western Cape, with more than 50% of the unbeaten DHL Western Province Craven Week team pledging their immediate futures to WP Rugby, along with five WP Under-18 Academy players.
JD Schickerling and Ryan Oosthuizen, both of whom were unable to play in the 2013 Craven Week tournament because of injuries, will also form part of the 2014 WPRI intake, joining WP Craven Week stars such as Jarryd Sage and Dewald Naude – both of whom made their WP Under-19 debuts last weekend – as well as both Daniel du Plessis’ (the hooker and the centre), WP U18 captain Rickus Bothma, Charlton Jonas, Siya Alam and Khanyo Ngcukana (to name just a few).
Bothma heads up the list of WP’s SA Schools players – the others being the Du Plessis’, Schickerling and Jacques Vermeulen – and they will be joined by prop Thabani Mtsi (Border), scrumhalf Justin Phillips (Blue Bulls), flyhalf Brandon Thomson (Pumas), wing Leolin Zas (Boland) and fullback EW Viljoen (Free State) from outside of Cape Town.
These players will eat, drink and sleep rugby at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (where the WPRI is based), with the first half of the year being focused on their fitness and (in some cases) rehabilitation, before the players are made available to the 2014 Western Province Under-19 and Under-21 teams that compete in South Africa’s junior provincial competitions (both of which take place alongside the Absa Currie Cup).
WPRI CEO Jacques Hanekom told www.wprugby.com: “Only two players from the 2012 Craven Week team, prop Thomas du Toit and lock Burger van Niekerk, opted to further their careers elsewhere – whereas other players like Grant Hermanus, Dennis Cox and Herschel Jantjies (for instance) are still at school next year.
“More than half of our intake for next year is made up of locally produced players, but we’re also excited about the five SA Schools players, Thabani Mtsi, Justin Phillips, Brandon Thomson, EW Viljoen and Leolin Zas, who have chosen to join the WPRI from outside the Western Cape.
“It’s nice to know that players from outside our region are choosing the Western Province Rugby Institute above other institutions – it says a lot about the work we have been doing here and the belief these players have in the WPRI. We look forward to working with the new intake and we will do our utmost to help these talented junior players develop even more.”
The 2014 Western Province Rugby Institute intake:Siya Alam (Wynberg Boys’ High), Luan Boshoff (Paarl Boys’ High), Rickus Bothma (Paarl Gimnasium), Heinrich Buhr (Boland Landbou), Daylen Daniels (Paarl Boys’ High), Daniel du Plessis – hooker (Paarl Boys’ High), Daniel du Plessis – centre (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Ruan du Preez (Hoërskool Brandwag, Uitenhage), Graham Geldenhuys (Rondebosch Boys’ High), Dylan Harlen (Grey College), Joel Heugh (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Wiehan Jacobs (Hoërskool Monument), Charlton Jonas (Paarl Boys’ High), Dian Koen (Hoërskool Outeniqua), Regardt Louw (Paarl Gimnasium), Sibahle Maxwane (Dale College), Johan Momsen (Paarl Gimnasium), Thabani Mtsi (Selborne College), Dewald Naude (Paarl Boys’ High), Brendon Nell (Paarl Gimnasium), Khanyo Ngcukana (Rondebosch Boys’ High), Ryan Oosthuizen (Paarl Gimnasium)
Brett Paulse (Rondebosch Boys’ High), FP Pelser (Hoërskool Witteberg), Justin Phillips (Hoërskool Waterkloof), Matt Reece-Edwards (Kearsney College), David Ribbans (Somerset College), Pieter Rossouw (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Jarryd Sage (Wynberg Boys’ High), JD Schickerling (Paarl Gimnasium), Ernst Stapelberg (Hoërskool Framesby), Damian Stevens (Paarl Boys’ High), Luke Stringer (Rondebosch Boys’ High), Brandon Thomson (Hoërskool Ermelo), Christo van der Merwe (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Francois van der Merwe (Paarl Boys’ High), Frans van Wyk (Hoërskool Monument), Jacques Vermeulen (Paarl Gimnasium), EW Viljoen (Grey College)
Martin Wiplinger (Grey College), Wesley White (Bishops), Kyle Whyte (Rondebosch Boys’ High), Leolin Zas (Hoërskool Hermanus)