CORBIN THUNDER (MARITZBURG COLLEGE)
Squads: Grant Khomo (Sharks), Barbarians Sevens (Captain)
Strengths: Carrying, Defense, Leadership, Breakdown, Hits, Positioning, Instinct
Corbin is a young talent whose name would be far better know had their been a 2020 season. A player that was destined to lead the College team into a new era since a young age Thunder bided his time with some breathtaking displays at Junior level only to be denied by the pandemic in both his Grade 11 and now Grade 12 year.
A hooker historically he made the move to loose forward this year where his size, mobility and strength had seen many in the region feel that he was on his way to making the Craven Week team with ease. We truly hope the season can continue and that Corbin will be able to showcase his talent that could result in him pursuing his dream of a career in rugby.
JOSHUA ERAS (STELLENBERG)
Squads: U15 WP Elite Squad, U16 WP Elite Squad, U16 WP Grant Khomo, U17 WP Elite Squad, Buffalo Squad (Tour to Italy)
Strengths: Lineouts, scrums, carrying, tacking, support play
Stellenberg have no doubt been the surprise package of the year, not many people outside the community would have thought a Top 10 program was in place but they have played some outstanding rugby in 2021.
Their backline has received the majority of the praise, and for good reason but do not discount the work put in by a very underrated forward pack. Eras being one of the leaders of the Jade Brigade pack has shown his class with some real workman like performances leading his front row into battle and relishing the physical confrontation and being happy with attention being placed on others.
Not coming from one of the Southern Suburbs or Winelands schools and still being part of the elite squad mix shows how highly rated he is in the Cape and it should be no surprise that he is being watched closely by high level scouts with recent rumours surfacing of overseas interest.
We obviously always would prefer our local talents staying in South Africa so it is of course hoped that somehow one of the Unions will give him the opportunity his talent deserves.
LIQHAWE MOKUEANA (Pearson)
Position: Outside Back/Utility
Squads: Pearson 1st XV 2020/21
Strengths: Footwork, running lines, pace off the mark, spatial awareness, game management
The first time I saw Liqhawe play was the Graeme rugby day in 2020. Pearson had been struggling against a strong Queens team led by Sihlalo Benge who had really stamped his authority on the game. Out of nowhere and seemingly out of nothing Liqhawe Mokueana took the bull by the horns and created a moment of magic to score a memorable try.
Having managed to get hold of his footage it bemused me somewhat that I had not heard of this player before, being at a school that is still very much developing its rugby program obviously played its role in this but to me this was a player that would have surely knocked on the Craven Week door even as a Grade 11.
The enthusiasm with which he plays the game is infectious, his passion for the game and the fact you can see rapid improvement in terms of his all round game show you that this is not a one trick pony and someone who is willing to work on his game.
He perhaps needed 2 full seasons to fully develop his game but the raw talent is there, with the right coaching and environment and some time to add to his frame I truly believe that Liqhawe has the makings of a top level player in him.
LOURENS ERASMUS (NELSPRUIT)
Squads: Grant Khomo (Pumas)
Strengths: Scrum, work rate, ruck, ball carrying, pace, versatility, toughness
We have not had much of a season in 2021 and with the Pumas naming their Craven Week squad recently the biggest travesty in this writers opinion would be the exclusion of Lourens Erasmus from the Craven Week squad.
I do not say that I am right all the time but when it comes to Erasmus I believe I am spot on when I say he is without a doubt the best hidden gem in the country right now. I have spent time discussing his talent with various scouts and while many had not heard of him initially when footage was shown their interest was immediate.
The boy can scrum with the best of them showing against Garsfontein that he will take on even the most formidable of opponents. He is lightning quick for a front ranker, one has to see it to truly appreciate it. His carrying and ability to break lines is way beyond his years and he plays with an intensity that is unmatched, couple this with the fact he is a nationally ranked wrestler and you have the building blocks for the ideal player.
Playing prop this year so far for Nelspruit he has been incredible in my opinion and the fact he is able to play hooker as well shows his versatility, he reminds me of Deon Fourie in his playing style and one can even see a bit of Schalk Brits in this tearaway, someone who while not fully appreciated in his own back yard will eventually prove his detractors wrong!
Watch the footage and try and disagree with me!