There is a strong local flavour as the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions meet each other in the final of the SA Rugby u21 Championship from 14:00 on Friday on Ellispark in Johannesburg. Four schools produced three players each that will participate in the final - of which three schools fall in the catchment area of the Bulls and Lions.
Garsfontein and Menlopark of Pretoria each have three players in the Blue Bulls' matchday 23, while King Edward VII of Johannesburg has three old-boys that will be playing for the Golden Lions in this encounter. The other school that has three alumni in action in the final are South Africa rugby factory, Grey College of Bloemfontein.
Garsfontein's three players are Diego Appollis (centre), Jordan van Dyk (lock), and Keagan Johannes (scrumhalf). Parkies' three players in action will be the dangerous scrumhalf, Bernard van der Linde, No. 8 Divan Venter, and prop Nolan Pienaar.
It is no surprise that King Edward VII has a good representation in the final as their 2017 team led by Travis Gordon was one of the best in their history. Gordon also captained the SA Schools' side but is sidelined due to injury at the moment. Ngia Selengbe (wing), Marc Morrison (flyhalf) and Lindo Ncusane are the three players from KES in the Golden Lions' squad.
Grey College will always feature and their three old-boys are Richard Kriel (fullback), WJ Steenkamp (loose forward), and Jan-Hendrik Wessels (prop).
Of the Blue Bulls squad of 23 players for the final, a total of eight players received their schooling in the Jacaranda City. In the Lions' squad of 25 players, there is a total of 13 players who completed their schooling careers in Johannesburg and Krugersdorp.
Another interesting stat derived from the schools that produced the players for the final is the fact that ten players are from schools within the Eastern Cape and Central Region who both were punched in the stomach by SA Rugby by taking away their participation in the European Pro 14 competition.
PHOTO: Frans Lombard/Actionpix
The teams are:
Blue Bulls: 15 Richard Kriel (Grey College), 14 Stravino Jacobs (Paarl Gimnasium), 13 Diego Appollis (Garsfontein), 12 Jay-Cee Nel (Oakdale Landbou), 11 Sebastiaan Jobb (Duineveld), 10 David Coetzer (Selborne College), 9 Bernard van der Linde (Menlopark), 8 Divan Venter (Menlopark), 7 Keenan Opperman (Montagu), 6 Hendri du Toit (Nico Malan), 5 Janko Swanepoel (Stellenberg), 4 Jordan van Dyk (Garsfontein), 3 Eduan Swart (Oos-Moot), 2 Janco Uys (Affies), 1 Kudzwai Dube (Muir College - captain). Replacements: 16 Keano Hendricks (Oakdale Landbou), 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Grey College), 18 Nolan Pienaar (Menlopark), 19 Uzile Tele (Hudson Park), 20 WJ Steenkamp (Grey College), 21 Keagan Johannes (Garsfontein), 22 Ruben Beytell (EG Jansen), 23 Dawid Kellerman (Paarl Gimnasium).
Golden Lions: 15 Shaun Baxter (HTS Drostdy), 14 Prince Nkabinde (Hoogenhout), 13 James Mollentze (Outeniqua), 12 Luke Rossouw (Monument), 11 Ngia Selengbe (King Edward VII), 10 Marc Morrison (King Edward VII), 9 Runaldo Pedro (Grey High School), 8 Francke Horn (Paarl Boys' High - captain), 7 Sibusiso Sangweni (Kearsney College), 6 Mark Snyman (Helpmekaar), 5 Cal Smid (Rondebosch Boys' High), 4 Emmanuel Tshituka (Northcliff), 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye (St Stithians College), 2 Dameon Venter (Helpmekaar), 1 Nkosikhona Masuku (Parktown Boys' High). Replacements (from): 16 Darnell Osowagu (Parktown Boys' High), 17 Banele Mthenjane (Nelspruit), 18 Ebot Buma (Fourways High), 19 Junior White (Jeppe High School for Boys'), 20 Mandisi Mthinyane (Durban High School), 21 Hlumelo Ndudula (Hudson Park), 22 Jordan Hendrikse (Glenwood), 23 Boitumelo Tsatsane (Jeppe High School for Boys'), 24 Quan Horn (Paarl Boys' High), 25 Lindo Ncusane (King Edward VII).
Referee: Paul Mente.
Schools represented in the SA Rugby u21 Championship Final:
3 - Garsfontein (Diego Appollis, Jordan van Wyk, Keagan Johannes), Menlopark (Bernard van der Linde, Divan Venter, Nolan Pienaar), Grey College (Richard Kriel, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, WJ Steenkamp), King Edward VII (Ngia Selengbe, Marc Morrison, Lindo Ncusane).
2 - Paarl Gimnasium (Stravino Jacobs, Dawid Kellerman), Helpmekaar (Mark Snyman, Dameon Venter), Paarl Boys' High (Francke Horn, Quan Horn), Parktown Boys' High (Nkosikhona Masuku, Darnell Osowagu), Jeppe High School for Boys' (Junior White, Boitumelo Tsatsane), Hudson Park (Uzile Tele, Hlumelo Ndudula), Oakdale Landou (Jay-Cee Nel, Keano Hendricks).
1 - Grey High School (Runaldo Pedro), Duineveld (Sebastiaan Jobb), Selborne College (David Coetzer), Montagu (Keenan Opperman), Stellenberg (Janko Swanepoel), Oos-Moot (Eduan Swart), Outeniqua (James Mollentze), Monument (Luke Rossouw), Nico Malan (Hendri du Toit), St Stithians College (Asenathi Ntlabakanye), Affies (Janco Uys), Muir College (Kudzwai Dube), Kearsney College (Sibusiso Sangweni), Durban High School (Mandisi Mthinyane), Glenwood (Jordan Hendrikse) Rondebosch Boys' High (Cal Smid), EG Jansen (Ruben Beytell), HTS Drostdy (Shaun Baxter), Nelspruit (Banele Mthenjane), Hoogenhout (Prince Nkabinde), Northcliff (Emmanuel Tshituka) Fourways High (Ebot Buma).