Methods questioned as other unions snap up WP talent
THE talent identification structures at youth level in Western Province rugby are shocking, says Wynberg Boys’ High First XV coach Gus Leslie.
His views are shared by some top coaches.
“I believe things are done unprofessionally compared to the Natal Sharks and the Blue Bulls.
“They seem a step ahead of us here in the Cape in sourcing the best young talent in the country and signing them up.
“Clearly we need the unhealthy situation in Cape rugby to be addressed by all relevant parties as a matter of urgency” he said.
But Western Province general manager of Youth Rugby, Theo Kleynhans, has scoffed at the negative views expressed by certain parties.
“It is not so that our development structures are not comparable with our rival unions,” he said. “I would go on to say that we are doing a great job in identifying our future rugby stars.
“Why is it that unions like the Sharks and Bulls are poaching our players?
“ Clearly they are not doing an adequate job of sourcing their own talent, and therefore resort to scouting the country to make ends meet. “One must remember that WP rugby is capped on how many players it can afford and accommodate in its pool system. WP rugby admits it makes mistakes, but that is part of the process.”
Rondebosch Boys’ High first team coach Sean Friedenthal concurred with Leslie’s viewpoint.
“The difference between us and the other bigger unions is their pro-active approach in looking for and developing our
‘Clearly we need the unhealthy situation in Cape rugby to be addressed’
best young players.
“I don’t believe those in WP rugby, tasked with finding the next generation of players, are equipped to do so. There seems to be no plan in place, like in the other unions, of coming up with a professional business plan to deal with the unacceptable situation we as coaches find ourselves having to deal with,” he said.
Friedenthal added that the Sharks and Bulls knew exactly what they were looking for in a talented youngster before going out to find that player wherever they needed to go.
“Here, in WP, it’s a rule of thumb that when teams like the Craven Week team are selected, selection was biased towards certain schools and, because of this, talented players were being given a raw deal.
“And you wonder why so many of our players, like this year, are moving to other unions to further their rugby careers?”
Friedenthal’s predecessor at Rondebosch, Shaun Povey, had a situation in his final season in charge last year when he challenged the selectors to come and have a look at the size of one of his flankers who they, the selectors, deemed too small to be picked.
“Clearly the selectors had never seen Christiaan Bester before,” Povey said at the time.
Clearly the loss of players of the calibre of Wynberg’s flyhalf Kieran Goss to the Sharks when he finishes school at the end of the year highlights the difficulties talented players confront when they are part of the system.
Goss, who was instrumental in turning Wynberg into a force to be reckoned with this season, was told by selectors during zonal trials that he was third-choice in his pivot position and played him at fullback.
He ended up being selected for the WP Academy team at 15 and then was told he couldn’t play for his school for fear of injury before the national tournament.
Goss responded by telling the selectors to stick it up their jersey and did turn out for his school for the weekend match.
Goss has been guaranteed the No 15 jersey for the Sharks’ Under-19 team for next season’s Currie Cup as their No 1 choice.
He will be joined at the Sharks Academy by school team-mates Zingisa Ndiki (powerful right wing with 11 tries this season), when he completes matric next year, and promising prop Butler Dube.
Bosch’s centre Darryn Berry has been snapped up by the Bulls, as has Paarl Gymnasium’s SA Schools flyhalf
‘The Mother Union has always had an open door policy for suggestions’
William van Wyk.
Kleynhans stressed that any problems to do with selection causing unhappiness at school level should be brought to his attention through channels that currently existed.
“Should people be dissatisfied, the Schools Unions and the Mother Union have always had an open door policy for suggestions and discussions to better our processes and structures.”
WP Rugby Union is in the process of spending millions of rands trying to lure star player Bryan Habana to the Cape next season.
This money could have been well spent in sourcing and developing the province’s own future stars.
With Western Cape schools, year in and out, having as many as eight schools ranked in the top 20 nationally, that shouldn’t be difficult. THE Bulls rebounded from an ordinary first half to whip the Leopards at Loftus last night.
It certainly wasn’t a polished performance from the hosts, but that was expected given how many new combinations they fielded.
Even so, Frans Ludeke will be disappointed in his charges’ first half performance against a unit as weak as this. He will, however, have been more content after the second.
The Bulls were suckered into playing expansively after scoring two tries through a direct approach, and this kept the Leopards in the match. In fact, at half-time they led by just nine points (20-11) when they should have bagged the four-try bonus point had they played smarter.
The Leopards were second best at the set phases, robbing them of a primary attacking platfor m and struggled to match the Bulls’ physicality at the tackle point, making it difficult for them to recycle quickly when the carrier hit the deck.
They started brightly enough though, and profited from the Bulls’ tactical naivety at stages of the first half, but ultimately they had neither the personnel or tactical intelligence to overcome the Bulls.
Their ill discipline, which saw them earn two red cards and two yellows, made an arduous task an impossible one.
The victory, however, comes at a massive cost for the Bulls as Springbok winger Akona Ndugane was stretchered off with what was later confirmed as a broken tibia. Youngsters Frik Kirsten and Stefan Watermeyer all cried off with injuries, while Van der Merwe and Hougaard also looked decidedly battered at full-time.