The Exodus of South Africa's rugby talent at junior level has begun

Written by Hannes Nienaber

LeavingOnAJetplane School of Rugby | The Exodus of South Africa's rugby talent at junior level has begun - School of RugbyThe mass Exodus of promising junior rugby players out of South African rugby has begun. 

No less than 18 school players of 2019 will play their rugby abroad in 2020. This will only cause the number of Saffas playing rugby abroad and representing other countries to accumulate in the near future. More than 300 South African's is already earning a living plying their trade overseas. 

The new contracting system introduced by SA Rugby that is supposed to keep more rugby players in the country seems to be having an opposite impact on tomorrow's talent.

The fact that there will only be a week-long u19 tournament from this year going forward as well the fact that the only junior interprovincial tournament after school will be u21 and not u20 without a doubt will also have had an impact on the decision of the players to leave the country. 

The highest profile player Kade Wolhuter's case has been extensively reported on.

The Paul Roos Gimnasium's flyhalf was without a doubt the best player in action during the Craven Week in Bloemfontein. Wolhuter was however overlooked for SA Schools' selection, because of his indication that he will further his career at Montpellier in France.  

The Strategic Transformation Plan without a doubt also had an impact on the amount of players that are seeking opportunities ashore. Just more than 30 players was afforded junior contracts by South African unions for 2020. This is a lot less than the approximately 105 players whom received junior contracts at the end of 2018.  

Wolhuter will be joined by Marcell Muller (wing, Grey College), Robbie Rodgers (prop, Paul Roos), Lesley Botha (centre, Grey College) and Sergio Moreira (eighthman, Noordheuwel) at Montpellier near the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. Rodgers is the son of former Bok prop Heinrich Rodgers

Wolhuter and FC Du Plessis (Toulon) was overlooked for SA Schools' selection, but a couple of players slipped through SA Rugby's policing and represented the national schools' side during the Aon International Series. Du Plessis was one of the standout schoolboy flyhalves in South Africa this year. He helped Grey College to finish at the top of School of Rugby's as well as all the other schoolboy rankers. 

SA Schools' fullback, Zeilinga Strydom, started all three matches during the international series, but will also be calling for the ball in French next year as he will be joining Stade Français in Paris. Affies' tighthead prop, Werner Kruger, will also join Stade Français, while the Wit Bulle's captain and hooker, Jacques-Lois du Toit, is also in advanced discussions with the French club.

Another two SA Schools' players Jan-Hendrik Wessels (prop, Grey College) and George Cronjé (eighthman, Grey College), hasn't put pen to paper yet, but both received lucrative offers from clubs in France and might be lost to South African rugby. Their agent BC du Plessis confirmed that they have a couple of offers from overseas as well as local, but they haven't made an final decision about their future yet. 

Grey College's lock Danwich Beukes will also join Toulon to further his career. Beukes is the son of former Free State lock Joe Beukes. The latter represented the Cheetahs in 125 matches in his career. 

Two of the second ranked school in South Africa, Paarl Gimnasium's, players Pierich Siebert (flanker) and Stephan du Toit (centre) will be leaving South Africa to further their careers in Japan. Siebert will join Rissho University in Tokio. This university is one of the oldest in the world being found in 1580. 

Alex Groves, lock of St John's College, who represented the Golden Lions XV at the Craven Week will leave the South African shores to join Bristol in England. St Andrew's College of Grahamstown's hooker, Chris Poole, will also further his career in the United Kingdom as he will be joining Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Both of these players already have British Passports which made their move easier. 

Voortrekker of Bethlehem's lock Steyl Barnard will be joinging Beziers in France, Jaryd Scheepers (lock, Garsfontein) will attend university in Australia. 

If you know of any school players that will be leaving our shores or you are a player further your career overseas and we have omitted your name from the list please send us an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop us a WhatsApp at 067 944 3358.  


Only 15 SA Schools' Players managed to secure junior contracts in South Africa 
Kontrakte skaarser as SA Skole-plekke op vanjaar se Cravenweek
Franse klubs teken nie veel SA skoolseuns
Franse beplan om 20 van SA se talent na Frankryk te lok

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