The 4th Article in the set discussing the Southern Kings.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Southern Kings 2013 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.
Name: Luke Watson:
What does one say about the most controvertial South African Rugby player? I suppose one at least has to do justice and paint most of the picture but still refrain from writing a book about him.
Luke Watson attended Grey Junior School and then Grey High School in Port Elizabeth and had an upbringing frought with political slant and upheaval, Luke represented the Eastern Province XV at the 2000 Craven Week, aged 16, then again in 2001.
Watson was selected for the SA Academy squad in 2000. In 2001 he was chosen as captain of the SA Schools team which played the French Under 18 side. That team also contained Bismarck du Plessis and Derick Hougaard.
In 2002 watson was chosen to captain the SA Under 19 team at the IRB Junior Wolrd Championship in Italy, Also in 2002 Watson was selected to play for the SA Sevens team that played at the Commonwealth Games which also contained Jean de Villiers and which was coached by Chester Williams and managed by Rob Louw.
In 2004 Watson was selected to represent South Africa at the IRB Under 21 Rugby World Championship in a team which included Andries Bekker, Bryan Habana and Wynand Olivier… coached by Peter de Villiers.
Watson’s early senior career was spent at the Eastern Province Elephants in 2002, wher ehe first played for the Under 21 side before progressing to the senior side where he made his Provincial debut against the Pumas on 20 July 2002. Watson relocated to Durban in 2003 were he represented the Sharks in the Currie Cup and the Coastal Sharks in the Super 12, same applied for the 2004 year.
In 2005 Watson moved to Cape Town where he played for both Western Province and the Stormers in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
2007 Was the utmost disruptive politically laden year for Luke Watson, bringing Watson a single National Test cap after then Springbok coach Jake White did not select Luke Watson in the 45-man squad, but Luke was added as “Player 46′ by none other that Oregan Hoskins, backed by Koos basson and Springbok Team Manager Zola Yeye, a long-time friend of the Watson family. Springbok players refused to include Watson in the traditional initiation ceremony for newly capped players. Luke Watson made his Springbok debut, in a solitary Test against Manu Samoa on 9 June 2007.
In 2007 Luke Watson was also awarded the Stormers captaincy, to be replaced in December by Jean de Villiers as Stormers captain, by Rassie Erasmus. Early rumors suggested Schalk Burger as designated Stormers captain for 2008.
Then the nasty incident known as the “Ubumbo Speech” took place on 3 October 2008 where Luke Watson spoke about his family’s political record and described wearing the Springbok jersey as “a burden” and said he had to struggle “to keep myself from vomiting on it.” Watson said that his Springbok team-mates refused to associate with him after his forced inclusion in the team in 2007. Although Watson gave no context to his comments, some have inferred that he was referring to the controversy over the retention of the Springbok emblem for national sports teams. In a question and answer session after the speech Watson allegedly stated that he hated losing his place in the Bok team to an Afrikaner (Schalk Burger, a former IRB Player of the Year). He also allegedly quoted his father as saying that the rugby administration was “rotten to the core” and run by “Dutchmen.” Afrikaners associate the term with pejorative attitudes towards them by British colonists and their descendants, connoting lack of intelligence and low breeding. No reference to Burger or to “Dutchmen” occur in the transcript of his speech.
The attitude of the majority of Rugby-supporting South africa turned heavily against Luke Watson because of this controvertial stance and the hate and negativity towars Luke Watson remains till this day. A number of senior players reportedly threatened to boycott the 2008 end of year tour to England, Wales and Scotland if Watson was included in the squad.
Following the appointment in January 2008 of Peter de Villiers as the new coach of the Springbok rugby team, Watson was selected for nine more Test caps. Critics continued to question his performance at Test level throughout the year with comments that his performances were “ordinary” and “anonymous”. Eventually Peter de Villiers relegated Watson to a substitute role, and reverted instead to the flankers whom Jake White had been criticised for preferring to Watson, namely Schalk Burger and Juan Smith.
In 2009 Luke Watson again played Super 14 rugby for the Stormers and Currie Cup for Western Province but failed to make the Springbok cut for the 2009 British & Irish Lions Tour.
In November 2009 Luke Watson left South Africa for the UK to join Bath Rugby, eventually graduating to team captain at Bath in 2010.
In December 2010 Luke Watson announced that he would return to South Africa, thus leaving Bath, for the Eastern Province Kings and in 2013 Luke Watson is destined to be the capatin of the Southern Kings in their maiden Super Rugby season.
Name: Mpho Mbiyozo:
Mpho was born in Lusikisiki, went to school at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth and represented Western Province in various youth competitions until being included in the 2005 Vodacom Cup squad. In 2006, he was called into the South African Sevens rugby team, making some domestic appearances for Western Province and the Boland Cavaliers. He represented the national sevens team until 2009, when he announced he wanted to return to the fifteen-a-side game. He joined the Eastern Province Kings in 2010.
Mpho also made history during the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, when he became the first player to score a try for the newly-created Southern Kings rugby franchise.
Name: Cornell du Preez:
Cornell was born in Port Elizabeth, but went to North West University in Potchefstroom, where he played in the Varsity Cup for NWU-Pukke. He represented the Leopards in the Under-19 and Under-21 Currie Cup competitions and was named in the Leopards squad for 2011, without making an appearance.
He was part of the South Africa Under-20s team that played at the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship.
He joined the Eastern Province Kings on 1 November 2011, where he signed a two-year deal.
Name: Devin André Oosthuizen:
Devin represented the Blue Bulls at various underage levels including the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and also played for Tuks in the FNB Varsity Cup. He made his professional debut for the Blue Bulls in the 2010 Vodacom Cup season, featuring in every game including the final which they ultimately won. On the back of his performances, he was signed by the Eastern Province Kings for the 2010 Currie Cup First Division season.
In 2011 Devin played for the Eastern Province Kings in the Vodacom Cup and in the Currie Cup 1st Division and also for the Southern Kings in the IRB Nations Cup.
In 2012 Devin played in the Vodacom Cup as well as in the Currie Cup 1st Division and also took part in the Promotion / Relegation game against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for the Eastern Province Kings.
Name: Jacques Jacobus (Vleis) Engelbrecht:
Jacques (Vleis) Engelbrecht started playing for Boland in the ABSA Under 21 Competition in 2005.
He then went to Western Province where he played in the ABSA Currie Cup for them in 2007.
In 2008 he played Vodacom Cup for Western Province and moved to play Currie Cup for SWD Eagles also in 2008
In 2009, still at SWD Eagles, he played in the Vodacom Cup and the Currie Cup as well as in the Promotion / Relegation games for the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
In 2010, also still at the SWD Eagles he played Vodacom Cup and ABSA Currie Cup 1st Division. He also represented South Africa in the HSBC Sevens World Series in George.
In 2011, having moved to the Eastern Province Kings, he played Vodacom Cup rugby, played for the Southern Kings in the IRB Nations Cup and in the Currie Cup 1st Division.
In 2012 He played Vodacom Cup, played for the SA Barbarians South during the Castle Incoming Tours and ABSA Currie Cup 1st Division.
Name: Conraad Johannes (Boetie) Brits:
After representing the SWD Eagles at the Craven Week and making the South African schools team in 2005, as well as the SA Under 19 team in the 2006 World Championships, he then represented Western Province at Under 19, Under 21 and Vodacom Cup level between 2007 and 2009, where his career was hampered by a series of injuries. In 2009 and 2010, he played for Maties in the FNB Varsity Cup, helping them to two championships.
He joined the Eastern Province Kings for the 2011 season.
Name: Daniel Ojambo Adongo:
In Kenya, Daniel played for Strathmore School and Kenya Harlequins junior team. He was spotted by South African scouts at the 2006 Safari Sevens tournament, playing in the schools category.
The next year he moved to the Natal Sharks academy, making his senior debut in the 2011 Vodacom Cup. At the end of 2011, he was signed by the Blue Bulls, but was released from his contract after 6 months to join New Zealand ITM Cup team Counties Manukau.
He joined the Kings for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
He also played for Tuks in the 2012 Varsity Cup.
He has also played for Kenyan Under 18 and Under 21 national teams. He is apparently planning to play for the Springboks one day.
Name: Thabo Mamojele:
Thabo was born in Witbank and came through the youth ranks of his local team, the Pumas until he moved to the rugby academy of the Sharks in 2006. He played two games in 2007 for their Vodacom Cup side, the Natal Wildebeest, but failed to make the breakthrough to the first team.
He had a short spell at the Falcons for the 2008 Currie Cup Premier Division, before joining the Leopards in 2009. He played for them for three seasons and also represented the NWU-Pukke in the Varsity Cup in 2009 and 2010.
In 2012, he linked up with the Eastern Province Kings.
Name: Tomás Cristian Leonardi:
A player for S.I.C. in Argentina, he also was included in the Argentinian high performance squad, the Pampas XV, to play in the South African Vodacom Cup competitions in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
He made his debut for Argentina in November 2008 against Chile. In May 2010, he was selected in a squad of over 40 players to represent Argentina in the two-test Summer tour of Europe. He has been a regular international for Argentina ever since.
Name: Petrus Willem (Wimpie) van der Walt:
Wimpie represented the Pumas at the 2006 and 2007 Craven Week tournaments. He then joined Western Province and represented them at Under 19 and Under 21 levels between 2008 and 2010, as well as representing Maties in the 2010 Varsity Cup. He made his first team debut in a Vodacom Cup match on 27 February 2010 against Boland Cavaliers. He made his Currie Cup debut the following year against Griquas. In total, he made 15 Vodacom Cup and 2 Currie Cup appearances for Western Province.
In October 2011, he joined Italian National Championship of Excellence team San Gregorio.
He returned to South Africa a few months later and joined Eastern Province Kings for the 2012 Currie Cup First Division season. He made his debut on 30 July 2012 in the opening game of the season against Boland Cavaliers.
My guess is that apart from Luke Watson, who will captain the team from the Number 8 spot, that Boetie Brits, Daniel Adongo and Tomás Leonardi will all have the loudest shouts for spots in the starting berths… but who knows, we will only really know as the season unfolds.
The next Article in the range will deal with the Southern Kings Scrumhalves.