2017 Ruggas Most Valuable Player of the Year -
Criteria - We are looking for not necessarily the star of the team but rather the player that the team would miss the most when he is not on the field.
Dameon Venter, #2 of Helpmekaar, represented the Golden Lions for the past 3 years from U16 incl the victorious 2015 Grant Khomo week and 2017 Craven Week teams. An excellent lineout thrower, the big #2, known as 'Ratel' (honey badger) is as tough as they come, reputedly a real menace in the dark places with his physical presence and ball-stealing abilities. His frequent powerful bursts with
His frequent powerful bursts with the ball in hand gain valuable metres for his team. Defensively solid, Venter's grunt upfront distinguishes him as a dominant player in any pack, often allowing other players to work more in open spaces with the confidence that the battle on the ground for the ball is taken care of by Venter.
Dameon has shown at Helpmekaar and the Lions Craven Week team this year that his work rate and willingness to work tirelessly has allowed his teammates to excel onfield. A tireless worker on and off the field who will spend the next two years playing for the Golden Lions.
Kieran Houston's stats speak for themselves - over two years playing every game he was available to play at flyhalf. He was contracted by the Sharks based on his performances over the two years, acknowledged by the Lions selectors, 2017 u/19 Lions Noorvaal Team and to top that off with 75% wins over his time as a 1st XV player and the captain in his matric year.
Scoring 24 tries through the season and over 320 points in two years which is more than half the points that the entire team scored over the said time.
He managed to pioneer a rugby culture change in leading his team to victory against Florida, Michaelhouse and JEPPE for the first time since Scott Spedding and Demetri Catrakilis played for St Johns and his hard work ethic make him an absolute candidate as most valuable player of the year.
Ruben holds the record for the most tries scored for EG Jansen Hoërskool. Ruben scored 106 tries in only four years as he only transferred to EG Jansen in grade 9. In 2016 he scored 31 tries and in 2017 23 tries for the 1stXV of EG Jansen.
Ruben was appointed as captain of the Valke u/18 Craven Week team this year and scored an astonishing 8 tries for his province. He was also selected for the South African u/18 7’s team which won gold in a tournament held earlier this year in Namibia.
Ruben’s ability as playmaker sets him apart from other flyhalves creating opportunities for himself as well as the other players next to him. He is one of the few backline players of the 2017 crop that can create chaos in the opponent's defence from nothing. A player to watch for the future.
Ian was introduced to the game of rugby in Grade 8. by coach Darin Viljoen, who stopped one day along the side of the road and asked if this gangly tall boy would be interested in playing rugby. Ian replied that he has never played before and he would like to give it a go.
Understanding that he has a natural talent for rugby, Ian was played in ALL positions in the next few years, so he could learn and understand the game a bit more. Ian has covered 8th man, flank, wing, fullback, flyhalf and even centre and he prefers it either in the loose trio or wing.
From learning what a lineout is to calling lineout calls at the WP Craven week trials, just shows you how far Ian has come. Ian Captained the U19A 7s team this year, that won the college's first silverware in rugby and will always be remembered as the gentle giant, who is a friend to all.
Herman Le Roux
Herman le Roux captain of Boland Landbou formed together with Marko van Niekerk form as reliable a second row as one could ask for in schoolboy rugby. Herman was initially selected for the Western Province u/18 Academy week and it was no surprise when he was also appointed as the captain for the 2017 tournament. He was however promoted to the u/18 Craven Week team due to an injury to a player.
Herman’s commitment to his team and to become the best he is very evident if you followed him during his years at Boland Landbou. He started out as a centre in grade 8 and learned the ropes of a forward in the u/15b and u/16b teams the following years. The amount of hard work reflected in the level of fitness and commitment he displayed during practices and matches.
Herman proved to be an inspirational leader, leading from the front not asking from his teammates more than what he was willing to do himself.
Stephan van der Bank
Stephan van der Bank’s biggest attribute is his coachability. He is a complete flyhalf that can defend, kick, attack and distribute making him a very important player in the Nelspruit 1stXV. Stephan’s kicking abilities must be among the best in schoolboy rugby during 2017 if not the best.
His play at 10 reminds us of the term “general” which is seldom heard these days. If not directing the defence of his team he is vital in the attack deciding when and where to attack, putting his outside players into gaps and setting up numerous try-scoring opportunities. Although definitely his side’s decision maker he is a team player never too good or clever to listen to the advice of his teammates
His selection as a substitute for the SA Schools team was not only celebrated by him but everybody joined in displaying Stephans popularity as a player and leader. “All the glory to God” describing his way to celebrate success and deal with failure.
Johan van Zyl
Johan van Zyl is one of those rare finds in rugby, a player that can compete with the best and then also have exceptional leadership qualities. If we discuss a most valued player we are most likely to look for the player that will be missed for his physical presence but Johan showed at Affies that his leadership qualities might just be more of value than his quality of play.
However, Johan does the basics of hooker exceptionally well. His lineout throwing is very accurate and he is physically strong making him a very strong scrummager. His biggest asset is his ability to carry the ball and his general play in the loose, fulfilling the role of the fourth loose forward exceptionally.
Asking his opponents at hooker who do they rate as one of the best the name of Johan came up for discussion every time. Great hooker, a great leader and certainly deserving the nomination as Most Valuable Player of 2017.
Abner van Reenen
Abner van Reenen was one of the stars for Garsfontein Hoërskool during 2016 and also represented the/18 Bulls team at the Craven Week in the same year. One of the most exciting players with the ball in hand and created tries from hopeless situations on several occasions. He will however also be remembered for his ill-discipline with the “highlight” being red-carded during the VirSeker Macro Schools finals almost costing Garsfontein the championship.
In 2017 Abner transferred to Paarl Boishaai for his matric year signing an after-school agreement with the Western Province. He started as the 1stXV first choice at fullback but when the Boishaai flyhalf, Boeta Chamberlain got injured early in the season Abner moved to flyhalf performing as if he played flyhalf all along.
Abner scored an impressive 180 points which included 15 brilliant tries. At Boishaai he developed into a disciplined and still superstar of schoolboy rugby.
Qamani Kota has been the go-to man in the Welkom Gim team in 2017, he was the playmaker that directed their attack easily moving from fullback to other positions in their backline causing havoc whenever he touched the ball. Qamani has a great vision and attacks open spaces with a very good kicking game option. His defence at the last line is rock solid and has blistering pace off the mark.
He was the star in the Tsepha Trading Griffons Team at the u/18 Craven Week this year. He scored the 4th most points at the Craven Week (52) which included an astonishing 5 tries, the 3rd most scored by an individual player. Andrew again the playmaker in a Griffons team that only lost 1 game during the Craven Week.
After his performance at the u/18 Craven Week, it was no surprise when Qamani was selected for the SA Schools side to play in the u/19 International Series and he also played a vital role in the Bokkies efforts. He played in all three fixtures and added 2 conversions and a penalty.
Phillip Potgieter is the new modern 8th man being the perfect link between the forwards and backline. Phillip is aggressive and solid in defence taking the attackers back in the tackle, something we seldom see in rugby anymore., His lineout ability is well known and everybody expects him to steal the opponents balls on a regular basis.
However, Phillip His ball carrying abilities may be his most feared weapon in his armoury. Phillip is not only very fast but takes on the defenders in an uncompromising manner, making him a vital part of the Affies 1stXV attack.
The perfect attacking 8 in the Blue Bulls team which looked at Phillip to take them forward and to disrupt the defence of their opponents during the 2017 Craven Week. Unfortunately for Phillip the Blue Bulls team was one of the disappointments of the 2017 Craven Week definitely affecting his chances to be selected for the SA Schools Team.
Dylan Richardson has proven himself at hooker, flank and 8th man in the past two years. He is well-built with blonde hair, tape around his head wearing the jersey of his team with honour. He enjoyed an outstanding season and could not fail to impress and be noticed with his ball skills, reading of the game, mobility and general slick all-round play.
Dylan represented the Sharks at the 2016 and 2017 u/18 Craven Week and after being a star player for his province he came close in 2016, doing enough to make the SA Schools’ A, as a hooker but in 2017 Dylan was selected as a loose forward for the SA Schools side playing in the u/19 International Series against Wales, England and France.
Dylan will be remembered for his astonishing work rate on the field and his never say die attitude giving his everything and more, no matter in what position he is selected in.