Georgian to be WP's player 23

2011-07-21 08:24

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – Forget about Jan – on Friday it will be Val from Georgia that will be the Western Province under-19 team’s Player23 against the Leopards at Olen Park in Potchefstroom.

Val Rapava, who was enrolled at the WP Rugby Institute in Stellenbosch this year, has been picked as the third front-row forward on WP’s substitutes bench.

His inclusion follows a communiqué from the South African Rugby Union (SARU) that provincial under-19 teams may pick a 23rd player for their fixtures.

Rapava’s parents now live in England, but the family is originally from Georgia. He applied to spend a year at the WP Rugby Institute.

“He arrived as a loose forward in January, but we have turned him into a prop,” said the manager of the WP Institute, Jacques Hanekom.

Georgia’s A team held a training camp at the Institute last year and the ties with WP were forged then.

Tappe Henning, manager of referees’ training and coaching at SARU, believes the decision to have an additional front-row forward on substitutes benches will benefit the game.

“It will put an end to uncontested scrums, which ruin the forward battle in a game,” said Henning.

It will only be applicable in the under-19 league, but may be expanded in the future.

Province under-19 coach Nazeem Adams said on Wednesday that it would be difficult to replicate last year’s success this season.

“It’s not impossible, but the big difference is that we don’t have the same depth this year. Last year our intake at the Institute was over 50 players and this year it was just over 30,” said Adams.

Meanwhile, WP under-21 coach John Dobson has picked a star-studded team for Friday’s match against the Leopards.

SA under-20 lock Eben Etzebeth is only on the substitutes bench, but there is a good reason for that.

“Eben was very close to the Currie Cup frame and trained with them this past week. We planned without him,” said Dobson.

Reniel Hugo will therefore be Quinn Roux’s lock partner this week.

Roux, who was born in Pretoria and attended Affies, was taken up in the WP Institute in 2009.

“I believe Quinn and Eben will both become Springboks,” said Dobson.

“I don’t know of a young player more in the mould of Bakkies Botha than Quinn. He is big, heavy and hard-arsed.

“Eben is a very nice guy, but he plays like an Etzebeth.”

Etzebeth’s uncle, Cliffie, played 25 matches for WP between 1977 and 1981.


WP under-21: Heinrich Steyl, Tshotsho Mbovane, Ryan Nell, Berton Klaasen, Tythan Adams, Michael van der Spuy, Nicholas Groom, Nizaam Carr, Helmut Lehman (capt), Reuben Johannes, Reniel Hugo, Quinn Roux, Tom Botha, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.

Substitutes: Rob Herring, Brummer Badenhorst, Eben Etzebeth, Garrick Matthee, Fred Muller, Paul Cohen, William van Wyk.
WP under-19:
Kazlo Holtzhauzen, Nathan Nel, Patrick Howard, Kobus van Wyk, Devon Williams, Dillyn Leyds, Gerhard Jordaan, Rayn Smid, Cobus Nel, Beyers de Villiers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Lungelo Chonco, Kweku Bortsie, Renier Marais, Justin Ackerman.

Substitutes: Paballo Mohapi, Niel Snoer, Val Rapava, Clin Lemkus, Carlo Theron, Hilton Mudariki, Warren Seals, Voughan Cassling.