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SA Schools Fantasy Draft: The Final Draw

From well over 500 players we now are down to 30 with the winners of these head to heads going on to be named in our SA Schools Dream XV for 2020.

Today we analyze these head to head match ups but the final decision is completely up to you! Voting will open on Monday.

FULLBACK: Quewin Nortje (Affies) vs Matthew Jacobs (Paarl Gim)

Both of these players had to overcome tough opposition on their way to the final.

Nortje still only Under 17 is a star in the making, a utility player who is comfortable anywhere in the back 3 one feels that next year in his senior year he will certainly be making his mark on the game. The Affies youngster certainly has a bright future in the game.

Opposing him will be Paarl Gim star Matthew Jacobs. Lightning quick with incredible vision the Sharks bound youngster would have been a key player in this year’s Gim team who would have undoubtedly had the best backline in the country.

RIGHT WING: Kyle Liebenberg (Affies) vs Curwin Gertse (Paarl Gim)

Liebenberg’s support in this process had been nothing short of fanatical. His votes on the website portion of the competition saw him overcome Zondai and Ekeji who both have it in them to become leading international wingers. A powerful runner and natural athlete Liebenberg will be heading over to the USA next year and there is no doubt if he chooses to make the country his permanent home he will become a full international sooner rather than later.

His opponent Curwin Gertse needs no real introduction. A prodigious talent whose try scoring exploits last year made him one of the most dangerous prospects for 2020. Gertse will be heading to the Sharks next year and we believe has everything in him to go all the way in the game.

OUTSIDE CENTER: Gert Steyn (Grey College) vs Josh Jonas (Hudson Park)

A betting man would have found this an unlikely final pairing but none the less these are two exceptionally talented players.

Steyn the Grey rookie showed in his first few outings in the Grey College jersey that he would stand back to nobody. Next year will be a huge year for the young prospect and no doubt he will be a key player for South Africa’s Springbok factory with a huge push toward SA Schools selection not an unrealistic proposition.

Josh Jonas the Lions bound center has not been on the radar by the mainstream and we have the feeling he likes it that way. Hudson Park is generally not known for having the strongest rugby program in the country but in Jonas they have someone whose pace, reading of the game and line breaking ability would have caused many an opponent serious headaches this year.

INSIDE CENTER: Mambo Mkhize (Westville) vs Jordan Venter (Paul Roos)

A real clash of the titans awaits us here as two of the top center prospects in the country go head to head.

Mambo is highly rated and the Sharks moved quickly to secure his services and for good reason. His offloading skills have seen him compared to All Black legend Sonny Bill Williams and his game breaking ability even as an under 17 was simply unreal. Mambo is a player that will go all the way, a humble and deeply religious player one can see when he takes the field that he plays for more than just himself but deals with the expectations placed upon him with a maturity that belies his age.

Jordan Venter is a name that has been doing the rounds since the beginning of the year. Aged only 18 the young Venter is built better than most international centers, the fact he is likely to grow even more is truly terrifying. A ball crashing center who loves the physical side of the game Venter has signed on with Edinburgh and will be moving to Scotland at the end of the year.

LEFT WING: Ebenezer Tshimanga (Wynberg) vs Franco Knoetze (Grey College)

We do not envy anyone who has to make this call, the fact that two players of this quality are competing head to head just shows you how good the future of South African rugby is looking.

Tshimanga needs no introduction. It was almost as if he was genetically engineered to play rugby! His bulldozing runs down the touchline have resulted in him achieving cult like status at Wynberg Boys and for good reason. He was one of the shining lights for the Cape based school in a tough 2019 season and no doubt would have made an even bigger impact in 2020. The scariest part? Tshimaga will be back in 2021! Watch this space!

Knoetze is a completely different player to Tshimanga and one feels if these two were in the same team they would cause some serious damage. Personally we have never seen a player at school level that has the same reading of the game as Knoetze. His vision is astounding, advanced way beyond his years and has an ability to spot gaps where no other players can. His try against Paul Roos in 2019 showcased his amazing ability to pick the gaps yet that was only one of many magical moments we saw from the young talent in 2019. He has committed to the Bulls for 2021 and they certainly do have themselves a gem and a player who could go on to become a future great of the game.

FLYHALF: Sacha Mngomezulu (Bishops) vs Jean Smith (Grey College)

To say Sacha is a special player is an understatement. We have spoken about the Bishops playmaker many times over the course of the year and our words still do not do him justice. Sacha would have been one of the key players in this year’s Bishops team, their best in a generation.

Jean Smith is the son of former Springbok Franco and younger brother to Grey College class of 2018 super star Franco Junior. Smith is his own man however and is looking to make his own mark on the game and if his first few games are anything to go by then no doubt many heads would have been turned had the 2020 season continued.

SCRUMHALF: Tiaan Fourie (Grey College) vs Nico Steyn (Glenwood)

Tiaan Fourie is perhaps one of the most under-valued scrumhalves in the country right now. His speed off the mark, distribution and work rate make him a formidable opponent. Competing with JD Olivier, an exceptionally talented scrumhalf himself has caused him to lift his game and no doubt 2020 would have been a year that Tiaan would have looked to work to make the College number 9 jersey his own.

His final hurdle however is not one that will be easy, Nico Steyn has been most pundits pick for the number 1 scrumhalf prospect in South Africa and for good reason. From a young age Steyn showcased not only his exceptional talent but leadership ability being able to inspire his troops through good times and bad. He made his mark early last season with exceptional displays in the World Schools Festival and was named in our team of the tournament. 2021 will see Steyn head off to the Lions to continue his rugby career and do not be surprised to see the youngster play senior pro rugby sooner rather than later.

8th MAN: Willie Potgieter (Affies) vs Sisonke Vumazonke (Grey College)

Potgieter was quickly snapped up by the Bulls and for good reason. Willie has been a standout for Affies at all age group levels and although 2019 was a disappointing year for Affies results wise Potgieter was a shining light with many inspiring performances. Most pundits would agree he was one of the top 8th men prospects in the country for 2020 and in an Affies centenary year would have no doubt led from the front.

Vumazonke has been on our radar for some time, from a young age his leadership and talent was obvious. He would have been the first name on many people’s list for SA Schools selection this year and would have been a strong contender to be named captain as well having been named Grey College’s first ever black captain.

OPENSIDE FLANK: Renzo du Plessis (Ben Vorster) vs Luca Ribbens (Paarl Boys)

Coming from a smaller school and still being one of the most sought after prospects in the country speaks volumes about Du Plessis’ talent. A naturally gifted athlete who would ever forget his try from behind his own touchline at Craven Week in 2019.

If there is an heir apparent to the SA Schools number 7 jersey that would of doubtless been Renzo’s it is Luca Ribbens. One of the top rookie prospects in the country Luca has rugby in his genes with his father Pierre being an exceptional player himself. Ribbens has the natural talent to go all the way in the game and his head to head with fellow loose-forward prospect Neels Volschenk was exciting to say the least. We cannot wait to see these two immense talents do battle next year.

BLINDSIDE FLANK: Duan Ludick (Grey College) vs Josh van Vreden (Selborne)

Ludick overcame tough opposition to stake his claim in the fantasy draft final. The Grey College prospect is an extremely underrated prospect with his low center of gravity stopping opposition attacks in their tracks, disrupting their flow with exceptional work at the breakdown.

His opponent is well known and already has SA Schools experience under his belt having been selected to the SA Schools “A” team in 2019. A natural leader Van Vreden no doubt would have made the SA Schools team this year and his talent has not gone unnoticed having been snapped up by the Lions where he will continue his rugby education in 2021.

#5 LOCK: Connor Evans (Bishops) vs Reinhard Ludwig (Affies)

Evans should be no stranger to those who have been following our channels as he was named the PACS 100 number 1 prospect for 2020. Having already made SA Schools in 2019 the position was his to lose in 2020 but knowing Evans he would of protected his jersey as if his life depended on it. Despite numerous overseas offers he has not been lost to South African rugby signing with Western Province.

His opponent is no slouch, Ludwig is an extremely exciting up and coming lock who along with team mate Willie Potgieter was one of the shining lights in the 2019 Affies team. Look out for him next year as he continues his career at the Bulls.

#4 LOCK: Corne Rahl (Oakdale Landbou) vs Marco de Witt (Boland Landbou)

Corne Rahl is an extremely exciting prospect coming out of Oakdale in the SWD district. A powerful lock who is one of the best lineout jumpers in the country had a standout year in 2019 with many pundits shocked he was overlooked for national honours. Although South Africa is well known for producing exceptional locks one feels that Corne is a rare breed and will go on to enjoy much success in the game.

His opponent had to overcome tough challenges to meet him in the final and is no stranger to those who follow youth rugby closely. De Witt caused his opponents huge headaches last year especially at line out time often stealing opposition ball. His reading of the game as well as mobility makes him a huge threat to his opposition. He will continue his education at the Bulls and one feels that should he continue on his current path higher honours will surely be on their way.

TIGHTHEAD PROP: Heiko Pohlmann (Monument) vs Tielman Niewoudt (Grey College)

A mouth watering clash awaits, the proverbial Clash of the Titans between two giants of the schoolboy game.

Pohlmann burst onto the scene last year in his first season for Monnas being named in our team of the tournament at the World Schools Festival. His scrummaging is known throughout the country as being one of the best and his mobility especially for a man of that size makes him a dangerous new breed of prop.

His opponent is no stranger to our followers, Tielman Niewoudt is yet another tighthead prospect that is a frightening prospect. Nobody will forget the sight of Tielman running down a wing in the Paul Roos derby in 2019 and if that is not enough one just needs to watch footage of his scrum exploits to know that this is a player whose star is on the rise.

HOOKER: Kwagga van der Nest (Garsfontein) vs Bryce Calvert (Westville)

Another head to head not many would have thought possible but that does not detract from the fact these are two players whose star is very much on the rise.

Kwagga formerly of Selborne College in East London headed over to Pretoria when he found himself behind SA Schools hooker Jacques Goosen last year. To say that the move was an inspired one is putting it mildly. Kwagga has gone on to showcase his talent and is one of the top young hookers in the country right now. He will continue his rugby education at the Bulls where they will have a truly frightening pack come 2021.

Calvert is one of the most sought after hookers in the country despite only being in his rookie year. A powerful runner with the ball and highly mobile Calvert will be the name on everyone’s lips come 2021 and with the Westville rugby program improving every year don’t bet against him being the number 1 hooker in the country next year.

LOOSEHEAD PROP: Abraham Reyneke (Paarl Boys) vs Jan-Hendrik Bessinger (Monument)

Reyneke had been very much under our radar until the Monument vs Paarl Boys game where he very much announced himself with some exceptional work in the scrums. Many will say that he is the premier loose-head in the country right now and few would argue, his move to the Sharks will be watched closely by man and there is little doubt he will go far in the game.

His opponent Bessinger is a humble and hard-working young talent who would have been one of the many weapons in the Monnas 2020 pack. Bessinger flew under the radar for much of 2019 but one feels 2020 would have been a year he would have announced his name on the stage. At this stage not much is known about his next move but whichever team won his signature would be a truly fortunate one.

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