To discuss the SA Schools u/18 announced squad is a very difficult task.
Firstly one has to decide do we still work with children or are they who are on the first step to professionalism. Ruggas.co.za still see them as schoolboys and will, therefore, discuss my reasons questioning the kids not selected rather than criticizing the kids and their shortcomings that was selected and/or not selected.
Secondly, we have to acknowledge that there were quotas that needed to be taken into account with the selection of this squad. Ruggas.co.za is opposed to any quotas. Punt. But this is the reality we find ourselves in and we need to accept that. Unfortunately for the coloured kids is that only 5 was needed, 10 ethnic blacks and then I suppose 15 players to be picked on their ability alone, or like some will argue were reserved for white kids. Would it not have been wonderful if we do not need this silly paragraph next year.
Thirdly, it seems that performance at the Craven Week was more important than form during the year. Unfortunately for some as they were chosen for their provinces, not in the positions they prefer nor in the position they played for their school.
And then finally we need to accept that this is the team that was selected and give Sean Erasmus and his coaching staff the opportunity to mould these boys in a winning team within 5 days. Please remember the countries that we are going to play against recently finished a Six Nations competition with France the winners.
I can not understand these boys not making the Squad:
Izan Esterhuizen - This completely blows my mind. Izan was the player of the Craven Week for the Lions with a work rate similar to selected boys Evan Roos and Adrian Alberts. Some claims the reason for his omission is that he is still in grade 11 and that 2019 will be his year, what a load of crap. Izan can play at seven and eight, is more than capable in the line-outs and being only 5cm shorter than the locks he could have easily slotted in at lock if needed. Crazy. Quotas took its ugly toll.
Dawid Kellerman - Dawid or Duffy as he is known by his friends, played inside centre for Paarl Gimnasium and was moved to outside centre by the Western Province selectors. Dawid is definately the number 1 centre I have seen during the year doing more than the job of a centre. During the Craven Week Dawid still showed his class at 13 and would have been the centre I would have on my list. Can not even blame quotas as this boy is the number 1 centre in South Africa for 2018.
Dylan Schwartz - Personally I could not wait for Dylan and Duffy to combine in the midfield for SA Schools. Dylan must truly be the magician of the 2018 Craven Week. His ability to create magic either by him attacking the opposing backline himself, getting through gaps a boy half his size could not, or with his offloads putting the players outside him in a lot of space. Kitch Christie once said when asked how he identified true talent: " A player that seems never to run at full-pace but always get through the gaps and/or always get to critical breakdowns although sometimes it seems that he is running away from the action. That is the truly talented player. That is the player that understand rugby." Like with Duffy we cannot even blame quotas.
Hannes Gouws - At 1.90m and 110kg Hannes does not fit the description of a lock, in schoolboy rugby. However, the French, England and Wales are bringing some ruff buggers over here and Hannes is that solid no-nonsense guys the SA Schools squad needed to put some fear into the visitors. Hards as nails in the loose and in defence and almost impossible to stop with the ball in hand. Maybe I am a bit biassed but we needed a boy like Hannes.
Franco Schutte - Take everything I said regarding Izan Esterhuizen and copy it here. Izan my choice if I had to pick but 50% will disagree with me, and rightly so.
Dean Nieuwoudt - Dean was only noticed by myself and the peanut gallery after a very knowledgeable friend phoned me to ask my opinion of Dean's play. At 181cm and 85kg Dean is said to be judged as too small, how stupid. This boy fought the battle in the trenches securing the turnover ball and making big tackles the whole match getting a lot of oohs and aaaahs when we followed him for the remaining matches. A true 6 and much needed in any team, even in modern rugby.
Richard Kriel - Richard by far the best fullback in South African schoolboy rugby this year but maybe a mediocre performance by the Free State Craven Weeks side cost Richard his place. Or maybe it was quotas or maybe both?
Trevino Gordon - Is this poor boy may be the first coloured kid not selected due to the quota system? Trevino deserved to be selected as he was the standout wing of the tournament and is replaced in the team by an underperforming Wyclef Vlitoor, who is an ethnic black boy in a very mediocre Free State team. Quotas, according to me definately. If Richard Kriel can lose his place due to an underperforming Free State team .............
At the end of the day, the boys who were selected did not select themselves and deserves the support of all of the schoolboy rugby supporters. Let us give the boys as well as the coaching staff our full support.
Go Bokkies and send the tourists back home with their tails between their legs.