THE pinnacle for many South African schools rugby players will move a step closer this weekend when the final Eastern Province teams are chosen for the Coca-Cola Craven Week in Port Elizabeth in July.
This year’s annual schools showpiece will be held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium from July 9-14, the first time it has been held in the province since 2000.
For EP players, D-day is drawing near because the teams are due to be chosen this weekend after the Meyer Sauerman Tournament is held at Volkskool in Graaff-Reinet on Friday and Saturday.
Four teams will be named, with the EP team made up of players from schools from Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounding areas, with an EP Country Districts team to play in the Craven Week, and the two Academy sides to play in the SA under-18 Academy Week.
Each region has chosen four teams for matches this weekend and from those trials, the selectors will choose their final squads.
The provincial hopefuls will be aiming to follow the paths trod by many Springbok players. Of the latest Springbok squad, 90% competed in at least one of the weeks. No doubt provincial scouts will be on the prowl as well.
Coca-Cola has sponsored youth rugby for 27 years and the company is committed to continuing.
"Coca-Cola is proud to be the brand where future stars start their quest,” Coca-Cola SA marketing assets manager Craig van Niekerk said. "The youth weeks are also aimed at encouraging young rugby players to live an active and healthy lifestyle, in line with our ‘Live for a Difference’ strategy.”
The EP trials teams are (1 to 15):
Hoko XV: Lloyd Parker (Grey), Jonathan Louw (Nico Malan), Ayden Boyd (Grey), Roche van Hall (Framesby), Gerhard Engelbrecht (Nico Malan), Gareth Ehret (Grey), Ray Williams (Daniel Pienaar), Aiden Davis (Daniel Pienaar, capt), Francois Nel (Daniel Pienaar), Ernest Stapelberg (Framesby), Selwyn Davids (Nico Malan), Louhaan Niewoudt (Nico Malan), Marcelle Plaatjies (Daniel Pienaar), Sergeal Petersen (Grey), Wayburn Howley (Despatch).
Manager: Sebenzile Hoko (Lungiso)
Buys XV Marius Minnie (Daniel Pienaar), Anrich Alberts (Framesby, capt), Matthew Moore (Brandwag), Elandre Crouse (Brandwag), Erwin Slabbert (Framesby), Henko de Jager (Pearson), JJ Kilian (Nico Malan), Ivan John du Preez (Brandwag), Matthew Alborough (Grey), Damian Kriel (John Walton), Bantu Kwatsha (Grey), Alex Banfield (Grey), Weslee Jones (Pearson), Phelo Mfini (Grey), Gary Loest (Grey).
Manager: Andrew Buys (Lungisa)
Gerber XV: Lyle Lombaard (Otto du Plessis), Justin Antonie (Pearson), Bart le Roux (Framesby), Pelzer Hanekom (Daniel Pienaar), Brandon Brown (Grey), Sabelo Sam (Newton Tech), Anru Botha (Framesby), Martin Groenewald (capt), Luciano Daniels (Otto du Plessis), Rual May (Humansdorp), Lindley Kritzinger (Grey), Armand Lombaard (Despatch), Petrus Meyer (Nico Malan), Darren Wright (Daniel Pienaar), Christo van Eeden (Brandwag).
Manager: Louis Gerber (Framesby)
Pieterse XV: Deon vd Westhuizen (Nico Malan), Jonathan Ford (Pearson), Siva Mandlake (Pearson), Raynard van Rensburg (Despatch), Masimelo Mrewbi (Humansdorp), CJ Velleman (Grey, capt), Luxolo Koza (Muir), Bethandwa Cafu (Grey), Mario Mouwers (Brandwag), Tevin Williams (Daniel Pienaar), JP Naude (Daniel Pienaar), JH Bezuidenhout (Brandwag), Siviwe Bisset (Grey), Siyanda Moto (Ndzondelelo), Noel Kapank (Humansdorp). Manager: Theo Pieterse (Ithembelihle)
THE final trials for the EP under-16 teams will be finalised this weekend, with the matches also being held in Graaff-Reinet.
The teams are (15 to 1):
Noland XV: K Vers (G), D Vermaak (G), M Sheldon (HTS), J Ward (G), D Lottering (Hu), D du Toit (B), C Williams (Gr), L van Jaarsveld (Marl), E Interharn Strauss (Volk), J van Niekerk (G), H Minnaar (G), H Viljoen (Marl), E de Jager (B), R Stevens (G), K Prince (B).
Yamile XV: J Malgas (Hu), K Higgs (B), A Sikiwe (DP), J Shelley (KC), S Metshe (P), R Bryant (G), R Bruiners (HTS), S Pakomela (VP), N Nkosi (We), J Mudrovic (G), L Liebenberg (F), M Moos (B), N Oosthuizen (Marl), S Sonkosi (We), S Gerber (NM).
Marais XV: H Botha (Marl), E du Plessis (Hu), J Jacobs (Hu), D Calitz (DP), S Madikele (DP), B Christian (Gr), B Willemse (DP), F vd Westhuizen (KC), D vd Westhuizen (NM), E September (Gr), R de Klerk (Volk), K Branford (G), J Kitching (Alex), L Snyman (Marl), M Howes (G).
Barnard XV: C Hertz (KC), D Cameron (KC), R Knoetze (G), R Ball (SAC), R Whiteley (F), A de Lange (NM), P Briggs (G), R Jonker (DP), S Ntobo (DP), M Barnard (DP), P du Randt (Marl), C Sauter (KC), P Crouse (Volk), S Lottering (DP), F Burchell (KC).
Reserves: R de Vos (DP), S vd Walt (Marl), H Cloete (Volk), S Nieuwoudt (F), C Nappies (Span), E van Tonder (D), P Zonke (G), S Nell (AR), C Kapp (DP), A Cummings (Mid), A Parsons (SAC), Z Perzent (D), W Enslin (G).