In a decent bit of continuity from the Sharks union, Vodacom Cup head coach Sean Everitt will again take charge of the under 21 side in this year’s ABSA Under 21 competition. Everitt has named a strong squad, including a fair few players that he knows well from last year’s under 21 and this year’s Vodacom Cup campaigns.
The season kicks off on Friday 20 July, with a match against Free State and while Everitt has already started putting the bulk of the squad through their paces, he’ll want to get the seven members who are currently with the Baby Boks in Cape Town back into the fold as soon as possible. Both Pieter-Steph du Toit and Paul Jordaan have been named in the squad, although with both currently part of the Super Rugby squad – and also widely expected to play Currie Cup rugby at senior level this year – it’s unlikely that Everitt will see much of them.
Let’s look at who’s in the squad:
Danie Mienie (Merensky) – Sharks XV 2012
Simon Kerrod (Pretoria Boys High) – Sharks u19 2011
Jandre Jacobs (Maritzburg College)
Nick Schonert (Maritzburg College) – Super Rugby tourist 2012, Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2011
Nicholas van Dyk (Paarl Boys High) – Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2012
Alan Dell (Queens College)- Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2012
Plenty of options at both loose and tight there, with the Vodacom Cup pair of Mienie and Schonert likely to start. Dell’s versatility should win him a bench spot.
Franco Marais (Transvalia) – Sharks u19 2011, SA Under 20 2012
Gideon Bruwer (Jacobsdal Landbou) – Sharks u21 2011
With Baby Bok Marais a favourite to start here, the squad does look a little thin on hookers. Both of last year’s rakes, Monde Hadebe and Shaun Malton have moved on to senior rugby.
Paul Sanders (St John’s College) – Sharks u19 2011
Stefan Lewies (Eldoraigne) – Sharks XV 2012
J C Wasserman (Welkom Gimnasium) – Sharks u21 2011
Wade Elliott (Glenwood) – Sharks u19 2011
Pieter-Steph du Toit – Sharks Super Rugby 2012, SA Under 20 2012
It’s the second row where the Sharks are going to struggle this year. If du Toit does play, then he and Lewies could form a solid combination. However, it’s more likely that we’ll see loose forward Brendon Groenewald pressed into service here.
Brendan Groenewald (Glenwood) – Sharks XV 2012
Chris Cloete (Selborne) – Sharks XV 2012
Matt Williams (Selborne) – Border Craven Week 2009
Francois Kleinhans (Glenwood) – Sharks Currie Cup 2011, Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2011
Stefan Willemse (Paarl Gimnasium) – Blue Bulls Under 19 2011
Guy Alexander (Hilton) – Sharks Under 19 2011
Khaya Majola (Westville) – Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2012
Braam Steyn (Paul Roos Gimnasium) – Sharks XV 2012, SA Under 20 2012
A decent set of loosies, with plenty of competition at openside between Majola, Kleinhans and Cloete. With Steyn and Alexander, together with Willemse all good options at 7 and 8, Groenewald could even play lock if required.
Ivan Ludick (Oakdale) – Sharks Under 19 2011
Hanco Venter (Monument) – Sharks XV 2012
Plaudits here must go to Hanco Venter, who was still at school last year and has capped a meteoric rise by bypassing under 19 level altogether. He also played Vodacom Cup rugby this year ahead of boys a few years older than him.
Gavin Hauptfliesch (Paarl Boys High) – Sharks XV 2012
Duncan Campbell (Westville) – Lions Under 19 2011
Fred Zeilinga (Glenwood) – Sharks XV 2012
A really strong group here, with Zeilinga set to be pushed hard by the other two. Good to see local boy Campbell back in the fold.
Kayde Fisher (Westville) – Sharks Under 21 2011
Paul Jordaan (Grey College) – Sharks Super Rugby 2012, SA Under 20 2012
Heimar Williams (Affies) – Sharks XV 2012
Jared Meyer (King Edward VII) – Sharks Under 21 2011
Piet Lindeque (Grey College) – Sharks XV 2012
It’s a ridiculously strong set of centres, with Wandile Mjekevu included at wing, but equally adept at 13. The established pair of Williams and Lindeque will be pushed hard by KES schoolmates Meyer and Mjekevu.
Sizo Maseko (Ermelo) – Maties Varsity Cup 2012
Wandile Mjekevu (King Edward VII) – Sharks XV 2012, Lions Super Rugby 2010
Jaco van Tonder (Outeniqua) – Sharks XV 2012
Kyle Wilkinson (Paarl Gimnasium) – Sharks Under 21 2011
Keelin Bastew (Maritzburg College) – Sharks Under 19 2011
Again looking a little thin right at the back, but the acquisition of SA Schools winger Sizo Maseko will definitely helpTweet