2014 SA Schools squad named


Craven Week
Craven Week

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Thursday an SA Schools squad of 28 players for the forthcoming Under-18 International series against France, Wales and England, from 10 to 24 August.

The squad was selected following a successful trial match held on Saturday at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, after the conclusion of the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks. Nine players from the Blue Bulls were selected in the squad, Eastern Province have four representatives while three players each from KwaZulu-Natal and South Western Districts were selected.

Hein Kriek of Paul Roos, who coached the DHL Western Province team at the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Middelburg, will coach the SA Schools team.

The SA Schools team, which is sponsored by Coca-Cola, have remained unbeaten in their international matches over the past four years.

Their first match is against France at the City Park Stadium in Cape Town on August 15, followed by Wales at Outeniqua Park in George on August 19, and England at the Paul Roos Markötter grounds in Stellenbosch on August 23.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux congratulated the squad on their selection and explained that the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks Programme as well as the SA Schools itinerary falls in line with SARU’s strategic objective of providing platforms for our country’s top Under-18 players, so that they are  able test their skills against the best local and international opposition.

“From here on, there will be hands-on coaching, management, programmes of intervention and monitoring of this group of players by our Springbok and Junior Springbok management teams as well as the SARU Mobi Unit,” said Roux.

“Over the years we have seen many players graduate from the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks to the SA Schools team and then to our provincial unions and our various national teams such as the Springbok Sevens, the Junior Springboks and ultimately the Springboks. This pathway is one of the core objectives of our Development and High Performance Departments.”

The SA Schools squad and management will assemble in Cape Town on 10 August in preparation for the three Under-18 internationals.

The 2014 SA Schools squad is:

Fullbacks: Morné Joubert (Glenwood HS, KwaZulu-Natal), Eduan Keyter (Affies, Blue Bulls), Keanu Vers (Grey HS, Eastern Province).

Wings: Nazo Nkala (Welkom Gimnasium, Griffons), Jerry Danquah (Queens College, Border), Andell Loubsher (Menlo Park, Blue Bulls).

Centres: Barend Smit (HTS Middelburg, Pumas),JT Jackson (Oakdale Agric, SWD).

Flyhalves: Curwin Bosch (Grey HS, Eastern Province), Thinus de Beer (Waterkloof, Blue Bulls).

Scrumhalves: Marko Janse van Vuuren (HS Transvalia, Valke), Embrose Papier (Garsfontein, Blue Bulls).

Loose forwards: Jakobus Coetzee (Glenwood, KwaZulu-Natal), Junior Pokomela (Grey HS, Eastern Province), Edmund Rheeder (HS Klerksdorp, Leopards), Cobus Wiese (HS Upington, Griquas Country Districts), Victor Maruping (Louis Botha, Free State), Arnold Gerber (Menlo Park, Blue Bulls).

Locks: Eduard Zandberg (Outeniqua HS, SWD), Jaco Willemse (Paarl Gimnasium, Western Province), Ashton Fortuin (Southdown College, Blue Bulls).

Hookers: Jan-Henning Campher (Garsfontein, Blue Bulls), Le Roux Baard (Outeniqua HS, SWD).

Props: Ignatius Prinsloo (Grey College, Free State), Sarel-Marco Smit (Eldoraigne, Blue Bulls), Ngonidzashe Chidoma (Northwood HS, KwaZulu-Natal), Michael Kumbirai (St Albans College, Blue Bulls), Lupumlo Mguca (Daniel Pienaar, Eastern Province).

Coach: Hein Kriek (Paul Roos, Western Province)

The SA Schools itinerary for 2014 is:

10 Aug   Squad assembly in Cape Town

15 Aug   SA Schools vs France – City Park Stadium

19 Aug   SA Schools vs Wales-  Outeniqua Park, George

23 Aug   SA Schools vs England – Markötter Stadium, Stellenbosch

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  1. Jacques, it seem you were right. The way players perform at Cravenweek does not play that big a role in the SA schools selections. Look at what Jurie Roux had to say of the selection process:

    Jurie Roux, Saru se uitvoerende hoof, het vroeër die afgelope week volgehou die keurproses is “lank en weldeurdag”.

    “Ons identifiseer die skolegroep reeds by die nasionale o.16-week en hoewel daar mettertyd enkele spelers bykom en wegval, bly die kern van die groep dieselfde,” het Roux gesê.

    “Die dae van ’n flash in the pan-speler van wie ons nie voorheen bewus was nie, maar wat in die Cravenweek beïndruk en dan gekies word, is verby.”

    Though I understand that the time players spend on the field at Cravenweek are limited,
    This a very narrow and closed minded aproach in my opinion. I do not agree that the core group should be identified at the U/16 week already. A lot of boys only grow after aged 16, and like the u/13 Cravenweek, the boys who grew earlier and are bigger at age 13 or 16 get selected. If you look at the EP Cravenweek side from this year, only 3 players of their squad were in the EP Cravenweek when they were u/13.

    I can’t help but feel that this process is being way too structured and inflexible and close the door on talented players futures far too early.

  2. @Christo (Vetgesmeerde Blits):

    Players reach position maturity at U16 level. Meaning that in over 95% of all cases by that age they start specialising in a specific position. There are thousands of studies that have been done (not only here, but all over the world including NFL) to identify the peak periods for any athlete at specific ages and what one should concentrate on at different stages.

    There is not much emphasis put on players at U13 level, but U16 is a different story.

    The potential problem is that you work with a limited base and don’t get to see players that weren’t part of the U16 week, but this problem is logistical, you are not in charge of who gets selected to start off with and you simply cannot be everywhere all the time to pick up on guys that ‘missed out’.

    The good news is programmes will be in place to start identifying players in other leagues and competitions at U15 level already in 2015 – outside your traditional Grant Khomo or National Youth Weeks – but you still won’t cover all your bases, just give yourself a better chance to pick up a lad that might have missed out.

    The primary focus is and always will be the Youth Weeks, but remember, running concurrently with that you have scouts in all provinces that will run around whose job is to spot talent in local leagues and get them on the elite player database.

    So programmes will run from 2015 outside of just the Youth Weeks.

    All players identified (not just Youth Weeks), which can be any number from 60 to 200, will be exposed to High Performance conditioning programmes specific to their positions.

    What we want to see is a player identified at U15 or U16 set the world alight at U18 after being on a programme for 3 years. And those who are too lazy, or just relied on their size (at U13 or lower levels but have no skills or did not develop them) will be cut.

  3. Thanks for the informative response.
    It is good to know that something is being done about looking at more players through
    other competitions. There is a lot of good school players in SA and it is difficult to see them all, as long as the door is not shut on the late bloomers.

  4. It does raise some questions though.

    If WP “won” the Craven Week, how come they have only one player in the team?
    Or conversely, with the Bulls’ 9 players, why didn’t they wipe the floor with all opponents at Craven Week?
    Where these players even there?
    If not, why? Are the provincial school selectors a bunch of buffoons, who know not what they do?

  5. @Timeo:

    The squad gets selected before the final day’s play, so it does not matter which team ‘wins’.

    As for the numbers from different teams, I mentioned this in a previous Craven Week article using an example of this year’s Craven Week. If we look at SWD and the Blue Bulls, one team was just far better coached than the others (this is my opinion). What got SWD to the final was a great team effort, because they had very few stand-out players. We have all come across this at different levels being supporters for many years.

    You also (as selectors) don’t just go on the actual performance, but the potential.

    As an example; a lock at 1,85 and 85kg’s might have a blinder of a week where a lock at 2.03 and 98kg’s had an okay outing. If you are picking your 3rd lock, who will you go for? Who is more likely to go beyond the SA Schools team to the U20 and possibly Springboks?

    Unfortunately the game of rugby comes with certain realities when it comes to players.

    Selectors, as Christo mentioned above quoting Jurie, are far more likely to go with a guy that came through the U16 week on a 50/50 call.

  6. Forgot to mention one last thing, 6 of the selectors on the panel are from SASRA (SA Schools Rugby Association) and have either been Craven Week coaches themselves or at the least coaches in schools in the regions they come from.

    These selectors are picked in an effort to represent SA’s major regions. Their role apart from actual selection, is to provide other selectors insight into certain players from his region when not a lot is known about him.

    As an example, the selector from the central regions will give the other selectors more insight into a lock from Griquas he has seen in school leagues over the years, or even coached himself as to his actual potential and not just on what is seen at the week.