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Plenty of brothers in 2014′s new batch


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 20 Jan 2014 at 15:23
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks have contracted 14 new under 19 players for the 2014 season and while this is a far cry from the group of nearly 50 young men who’ll be starting their careers at the Bulls this year, the Sharks have always favoured quality over quantity.

This year’s group is unique in two ways; firstly in that it comprises far more forwards (in particular, locks) than it does backs and secondly in that no fewer than four of the 14 have older brothers already in the Sharks system.

The Sharks don’t contract an entire team’s worth of players at under 19 level – that simply isn’t their model. Rather, they offer junior spots to players based on the perceived needs of the senior team in years to come. The talent base offered by the wider (non-contracted) Sharks Academy group allows for a competitive under 19 side to be selected (although obviously not as strong as the Bulls’, who contract three players in each position every year) while ensuring a higher pull-through rate into the senior ranks. The Sharks, in other words, do a lot more to select the “right players” at under 19 level, rather than casting the net widely and allowing natural attrition to whittle out players along the way.

2014 sees the arrival of a pair of highly-anticipated young brothers, the phenomenal Daniel and Jean-Luc du Preez. The blonde Kearnsey boys have been setting the schools rugby scene alight for years now and it will be interesting to see them transition to age-group rugby. Their older brother, Robert, plays flyhalf for the Sharks under 21 side. Also joining the fray is Johan du Toit, the younger brother of Bok Pieter-Steph and Retief Marais, the third brother in that famous Welkom clan that has already delivered Jandre and Peet to the Sharks family.

Three of these four played their schoolboy rugby at lock (Jean-Luc du Preez being the exception, as a blindside flanker). Also coming into the system as second-rowers are Garsfontein’s 2.03m Hyron Andrews and HTS Middelburg’s 2m Petrus du Busson. There’s obviously no way that five second-rowers can all squeeze into just one under 19 team, meaning that one or more of these boys may well find their futures in other positions; Beet from SchoolBoyRugby blog even reckons that the third Marais, as a 110m hurdles national champion, could be used as a wing.

The front row has not been neglected either; Paarl Gim’s massive Thomas du Toit (loosehead, somewhere north of 130kgs) is no slouch for his size, while Grey tighthead Ruan Kramer also played SA Schools and is renowned as a ball-carrier. Another old Grey is Andrew du Plessis, a smaller prop whose future may well lie in the middle of the scrum. Kearnsey’s Ayrom Schramm, who was simply phenomenal as a schoolboy number 8 last season, is also in the mix, as are Grey captain and fetcher Marius Louw and Glenwood captain Wandi Mazibuko. The latter may also need to switch positions as he’s unlikely to be big enough to continue as a blindside flank after school.

The only backs to make the grade this year are Hilton’s Cameron Wright, who already has two years’ Sharks under 19 experience under his belt and St Stithians flyhalf Innocent Radebe, who had a great Craven week and was a controversial omission from the SA Schools side.

The below picture of the new recruits is courtesy of SchoolBoyRugby blog and we encourage you to click the link to read more about these players. We wish them all the best for their future endeavours in Durban and hope to see some or all of them in the senior black and white strip in the future.



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