A year has come and gone, and now we face a “rugby drought” until Super 15 kicks off mid February 2013. It is the “dry season” as far as rugby news goes, so am sure most of us are getting withdrawl symptoms. Hopefully this will solicit some debate or scorn.
I list the possible contenders for props in the Cheetahs 2013 Super Rugby group. The Cheetahs seem to have a penchant for grooming young props, with most of the contenders still puppies as far as props go.
Schalk Willem van der Merwe:
Age: 22 years – 04 December 1990
Vital Statistics: (H) 183 cm (W) 115 kg
Schalk was born in Tzaneen. He has come through the ranks of Cheetahs rugby, having represented the union at u/18 Academy Week in 2008, and in the same year, the SA Schools Academy team. He went on to represent the Free State at u/19, u/21, Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup in the 2012 season. Though still young, he has stood his man in the scrums, and a bright future lays ahead of him.
Caylib Rees Oosthuizen:
Age: 23 years – 01 September 1989
Vital Statistics: (H) 186 cm (W) 115 kg
Born in Cape Town, Caylib started representative rugby with SWD in 2007 at the Academy week, and was also part of the SA Schools Academy team. He was signed by the Lions after being spotted in the Varsity Cup. He was selected for the 2009 Junior Bok squad, for the IRB Junior World Championship. Having already played Currie Cup and Super rugby with the MTN Lions, Caylib is sure to benefit from the mentorship of Os du Randt.
Victor Coenraad (Coenie) Oosthuizen:
Age: 24 years – 22 March 1989
Vital Statistics: (H) 183 cm (W) 127 kg
Coenie has been in the Cheetahs system since 2005, representing Free State Schools at the 2005 Grant Khomo u/16 tournament. He also played u/18 Craven week in 2006 & 2007, as well as SA Schools in 2007. He has represented the Free State at every level possible since.
Coenie has had quite a distinguished career thus far, having represented the Junior Boks at the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship. Interestingly enough, he had by then already played Super Rugby for the Cheetahs. He was part of the Springbok squad, in 2010 on the EOYT tours, but only made his Bok debut in 2012 vs England. He has been the Cheetahs go to man, in the scrums for a few seasons already. If he can shake off the injury bogey, he will be the Cheetahs anchor in the scrums.
Pieter Rossouw de Klerk:
Age: 23 years – 21 August 1989
Vital Statistics: (H) 186 cm (W) 116 kg
Born in Vredenburg, and a product of Paarl Gymnasium, Rossouw represented WP at the u/16 Grant Khomo week in 2005. He then moved to the Bulls straight out of school, and has represented the Bulls at u/21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
Trevor Ntando Nyakane:
Age: 24 years – 04 May 1989
Vital Statistics: (H) 178 cm (W) 117 kg
Trevor was born in Bushbuckridge, and finished high school at Ben Vorster in Tzaneen, He represented Limpopo at the Craven week at both u/16 and u/18 levels. Straight from school, he was drafted into the Cheetahs setup. He has already represented the Cheetahs at u/19, u/21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, and in 2012 he played Super Rugby.
Lourens Cornelius Adriaanse:
Age: 25 years – 05 February 1988
Vital Statistics: (H) 180 cm (W) 115 kg
Born in Cape Town, Lourens is another Paarl Gym player. He is the younger brother of Lions prop Jacobie, who is now playing in Europe. He started his representative rugby in 2004 at the u/16 Grant Khomo week for the WP. He went on to represent WP at Craven week u/18, WP u/19, WP u/21, WP Vodacom Cup. He starred for Maties in the Varsity Cup, and was subsequently selected for the SA Students team in 2009. He was contracted by Griquas in 2011, and has become a regular anchor in their front row. He has also represented the Toyota Cheetahs in Super rugby.
Willem Andries Stephanus (Steph) Roberts:
Age: 28 years – 28 March 1985
Vital Statistics: (H) 188 cm (W) 118 kg
Born in Bloemfontein, Steph is another old Grey’s product. He represented Free State at the 2003 u/18 Craven Week, and was selected for the SA Schools and for the Junior Boks in 2004. He made his provincial debut in 2005 for the Cheetahs u/19 and Vodacom Cup teams. He signed for Griquas in 2008, and played for the Royal XV against the touring British & Irish Lions. He had a good season with Griquas in 2012.
Considering the Cheetahs have lost the services of players like WP Nel (Edinburgh) and Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), the Cheetahs have a nice group of young props to choose from, providing decent depth in the frontrow
There should be a fair bit of competition on the LH side, as Coenie has stated that he will prefer to play exclusively tighthead for the Cheetahs. Nyakane might be a good bet, having already played Super Rugby, however Steph Roberts, and Caylib Oosthuizen will push him hard. On the TH side, we can safely bank on Coenie starting if fit, with the solid Adriaanse or the promising de Klerk as back up.
All things considered, the Cheetahs look well covered at prop. The available players are all strong scrummagers, as well as fairly mobile, which fits in well with the Cheetahs expansive game plan.