A year has gone by since the 2010 SA Schools and High Performance Under-18 teams were announced. To date, two of the players, Steven Kitshoff and Johan Goosen have exceeded expectations.
Although many had tipped both youngsters to make all the way to the top tier of professional rugby, the speed at which they have progressed has come as a surprise to the majority who have followed their careers. As uncommon as the term “fast-tracking” generally is in South African rugby, it is the most appropriate way to describe their rapid advancement.
Kitshoff’s progress has been particularly remarkable. The strong young loosehead prop had barely completed his studies at Paul Roos Gymnasium when he was thrust into the deep end by his Union. His outstanding technique and temperament earned him a reward in the form of a Super Rugby debut for the Stormers against the Chiefs in May.
Recently the 2010 South African Schoolboy player of the year, Johan Goosen, made his run-on debut for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup Premier Division. Goosen was also a key player in the Baby Bok team that participated in the Junior World Cup (JWC) in Italy.
Paul Jordaan, Tshotsho Mbovane and Craig Barry had earned themselves IRB Sevens contracts for 2011 while still at school and along with Kevin Luiters and Goosen, were the only backs from the 2010 schoolboy year to represent South Africa at Under-20 level in 2011. The exciting Mbovane has amazing footwork and it is little wonder that he has been leaving lasting impressions at grounds across the country in the Under-21 competition this season.
William Small-Smith, the 2010 SA Under-18 captain also took part in the IRB Sevens and was given a taste of Vodacom Cup action by the Bulls earlier in the year.
The talented enforcer-type lock, Ruan Venter was the only forward from the Class of 2010 to play at the Junior World Championship. Unfortunately the injury he picked up during this tournament has impacted on his domestic campaign, where he would surely have started for the Golden Lions Under-21 team. In his absence, his former SA Schools teammate Ruan Botha has done duty for the Golden Lions at this level.
Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siseko Jafta were perhaps not as well-known as some of the players mentioned above, however both have played instrumental roles at the Sharks in the Under-21 competition.
Recently Wiaan Liebenberg who captains the Blue Bulls Under-19 team has been promoted to the Bulls under 21 team that has regularly features Poerie van Rooyen in a starting role.
This has been a season that has certainly presented far more opportunities at higher levels for young players than seen in the past. Here is a complete list of the 2010 players, their schools, positions and achievements:
1. Craig Barry, Paul Roos Gym, fullback, Baby Boks SA Under-20, WP Under-19
2. Leroy Bitterhout**, Klein Nederburg, wing
3. Anrich Bitzi, Grey College, hooker, Cheetahs Under-19
4. Fabien Booysen, Florida, loose forward, Golden Lions Under-19
5. Ruan Botha, Jeugland, lock, Lions Under-21
6. Richmond Collins**, Pretoria Boys High, wing
7. Allan Dell, Queen's College, prop, Sharks Under-19
8. Pieter-Steph du Toit, Swartland, lock, Sharks Under-21
9. Neethling Fouche*, Grey College, prop, Free State Craven Week
10. Johan Goosen, Grey College, flyhalf, Baby Boks SA Under-20, Cheetahs - Currie Cup Premier Division
11. Patrick Howard, Michaelhouse, centre, WP Under-19
12. Ruwellyn Isbell*, Grey College, wing, SA Schools 2011
13. Luqmaan Ismail, Paarl Gym, wing, Golden Lions Under-19
14. Siseko Jafta, St Charles, loose forward, Sharks Under-21
15. Andile Jho, Dale College, centre, Blue Bulls Under-19
16. Neill Jordaan, Grey College, loose forward, Cheetahs Under-19
17. Paul Jordaan, Grey College, flyhalf/centre, SA Under-20, Sharks Under-21
18. Steven Kitshoff, Paul Roos Gym, prop, Stormers, WP - Currie Cup Premier Division
19. JP Lewis*, Paul Roos Gym, wing, SA Schools 2011
20. Wiaan Liebenberg, Drostdy, flank, Blue Bulls Under-21
21. Kevin Luiters, Grey College, scrumhalf, Baby Boks SA Under-20
22. Khaya Majola, Westville, loose forward, Sharks Under-19
23. Tshepo Motale, Bishops, prop, Western Province Craven Week
24. Tshotsho Mvobane, Paul Roos Gym, wing, Baby Boks Under-20, WP Under-21
25. Sikhumbuzo Notshe*, Wynberg, flank, SA Schools 2011
26. Ettienne Oosthuizen, Bergsig, lock, Golden Lions Under-19
27. Marais Schmidt, Monument, flyhalf, Golden Lions Under-21
28. William Small-Smith, Grey College, centre, Blue Bulls Under-19, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup
29. Syviwe Soyizwaphi*, Dale College, fullback, Border Craven Week
30. Ekkard Thomas, Duineveld, prop, Blue Bulls Under-19
31. Jason Thomas, Muir College, hooker, Blue Bulls Under-19
32. Nardus van der Walt, Affies, loose forward, Blue Bulls Under-19
33. Schalk van Heerden, Waterkloof, lock, Blue Bulls Under-19
34. Poerie van Rooyen, Affies, scrumhalf, Blue Bulls Under-21
35. Justin van Wyk, Menlopark, hooker, Golden Lions Under-19
36. Ruan Venter, Monument, lock, Baby Boks SA Under-20
* denotes schoolboy in 2011 who is still Under-18
**denotes schoolboy in 2011 who no longer qualifies for Under-18
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