Herewith the SA Schools squad of 2020, or not

Written by Hannes Nienaber

NewsGRenzoduPlessis School of Rugby | Herewith the SA Schools squad of 2020, or not  - School of RugbyAccording to a concept document that has leaked out the three top school rugby sides in South Africa would've been between Diocesan College (Bishops), Grey College of Bloemfontein, or Paul Roos Gimnasium from Stellenbosch. These three schools all have three "representatives" in a possible South African Schools' side for 2020 that was chosen in secret.

Now lets first make a disclaimer our intent for the article is not to leak this concept document, but rather to provide a balanced and informed piece about the usual process behind the selection of the SA Schools side as well as what makes someone receive an SA Schools' cap.

After receiving the concept document with the possible SA Schools' squad and a Saru u18 Elite Squad for 2020 - we first decided not to publish an article, but after seeing various social media posts with the team we felt that it was necessary to write an article to prevent any speculation or misinformation on whether these players in the squad are SA Schools' player or not. 

This team that has been "selected" by either the roleplayers within SA Rugby's Elite Player Development programme or the national schools' selectors that have been doing the round on social media are not an official team even if it was selected by the correct powers to be that usually contribute towards the selection process.

The only way that a player is recorded as an SA Schools' player and his name added to the prestigious list of players that made the team since 1974 is to play a match for the South African Schools' side. Even in a normal year and not a Covid-19 affected 2020 if a player is named in the SA Schools' squad after the Craven Week and don't play due to injury they won't get capped and their name won't be added to the list of SA Schools' players. 

A recent example of such an incident is Jaco van der Walt (Monument) who was named in the South African Schools' side back in 2011 after the Craven Week in Kimberley. Van der Walt did rock up to the training camp before the matches but was injured and Pieter Jordaan (Grey College) was called-up to replace Van der Walt. The latter who plays his rugby at Edinburgh in Scotland at the moment has never received SA Schools' honours.

Whoever picked the possible team for 2020 - we have to say it is a job well-done. It would've been a difficult task as most school teams only played one or two matches before the 2020 season got interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic. So this team would've been chosen mostly on potential as well as performances during SA Rugby's Elite Player Development camps that was held just before the season kicked off. 

Each year there is an outlier or two who makes a name for themselves during the season or during the national schools' weeks, Craven and Academy Week. The selectors in a normal year would have been monitoring various players and watching many matches during the season before they sat down for the final selectors meeting in which they will choose the 28 players that will represent South Africa at school level. 

This year as we all know didn't give all the schools' players of South Africa who were dreaming of that prestigious SA Schools' cap the adequate opportunity to showcase their talents. We as supporters and school rugby writers were also not fortunate enough to witness the class of 2020 showcasing their talents on the various rugby fields from Komatipoort to Piley Rees at Bishops during the season. 

The selectors and scouts also didn't get the opportunity to see all the talent on offer. Therefore we believe the document that leaked out will stay a concept document as it would be unfair to select a SA Schools' side on only potential. 

To the players that "made" the squad in the concept document - we at School of Rugby agree that you have a lot of rugby potential and we look forward to seeing you play in the professional setup in the near future. Keep working hard and stay humble! 

The possible SA Schools Squad for 2020: 

Backs: Sonwabo Sokoyi (Grey College), Luke Burger (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Pachal Ekeji (Grey College), Ethan James (Paarl Gimnasium), Melbirt van der Spuy (Helpmekaar), Mnqobi Mkhize (Westville Boys' High), Brandon Wilkie (Framesby), Suleiman Hartzenberg (Dioceson College), Curwin Gertse (Paarl Gimnasium), Sacha Mngomezulu (Diocesan College), Sihlalo Benge (Queen's College), Bradley Davids (Paarl Gimnasium), Nico Steyn (Glenwood).

Forwards: Renzo du Plessis (Ben Vorster), Armand Maritz (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Sisonke Vumazonke (Grey College), Josh van Vreden (Selborne College), Reinhard Ludwig (Affies), Corné Rahl (Oakdale Landbou), Connor Evans (Diocesan College), Tielman Nieuwoudt (Grey College), Phillip Masango (Wynberg Boys' High), Lukhanyo Vukozela (Rondebosch Boys' High), Tiaan Lange (Menlopark), Frederich Weilbach (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Mpumelelo Xego (Westville Boys' High).

SARU u18 Elite Squad

Fullbacks - Franco Knoetze (Grey College), Hakeem Kunene (Paarl Boys' High), Sonwabo Sokoyi (Grey College). 

Right Wings - Duran Koevert (SACS), Luke Burger (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Diego Cupido (Helpmekaar), Katleho Lethebele (King Edward VII). 

Outside Centres - Ethan James (Paarl Gimnasium), Keagan Smith (Paarl Boys' High), Quen Nortjé (Affies), Melbirt van der Spuy (Helpmekaar).

Inside Centres - Mnqobi Mkhize (Westville Boys' High), Brandon Wilkie (Framesby), Regan Izaks (Grey College), Josh Jonas (Hudson Park). 

Left Wings - Curwin Gertse (Paarl Gimnasium), Suleiman Hartzenburg (Diocesan College), Keanan Wentzel (Boland Landbou). 

Flyhalves - Sacha Mngomezulu (Diocesan College), Sihlalo Benge (Queen's College), Jean Smith (Grey College), Compion von Ludwigh (Paarl Boys' High). 

Scrumhalves - Bradley Davids (Paarl Gimnasium), Nico Steyn (Glenwood), Juan-Dee Olivier (Grey College), Neil le Roux (Oakdale Landbou), Rowan Cloete (Garsfontein). 

No. 8 - Renzo du Plessis (Ben Vorster), Armand Maritz (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Willie Potgieter (Affies), Cornelius Volschenk (Grey College), Phillip Kleynhans. 

Flankers - Sisonke Vumazonke (Grey College), Hardus Rothman (Garsfontein), Ndabambi Abulele (Paarl Boys' High), Siyabuka Ningiza (Maritzburg College), Eric Basson (Paarl Gimnasium), Rynard Mouton (Monument), Josh van Vreden (Selborne College), Gcinokhule Mdletshe (Glenwood). 

Locks - Reinhardt Ludwig (Affies), Corné Rahl (Oakdale Landbou), Coetzee le Roux (Paarl Boys' High), Merwe Olivier (Grey College), Connor Evans (Diocesan College), Marko de Witt (Boland Landbou), Henk Gouws (Glenwood), Luca Ribbens (Paarl Boys' High). 

Tighthead Props - Tielman Nieuwoudt (Grey College), Phillip Masango (Wynberg Boys' High), Sebastian Lombard (Paarl Boys' High), Thansville Mayman (Garsfontein), Dian Heunis (Oakdale Landbou). 

Hookers - Keagan Blackenberg (Diocesan College), Ricardo Fourie (Grey College), Tiaan Lange (Menlopark), Lukhanyo Vukozela (Rondebosch Boys' High). 

Loosehead Props - Frederich Weilbach (Paul Roos Gimnasium), Mpumeleo Xego (Westville Boys' High), Heiko Pohlmann (Monument), Phatu Ganyane (Glenwood).

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