Ruggas Forward Of The Year 2017

2017 Ruggas Forward of the Year - Mark Snyman

Criteria - Simple pick the best schoolboy forward of 2017


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Henco Martins

Henco Martins enjoys playing number 8 from where he can showcase his tremendous pace and agility. He has scored 17 tries for his school during the past season and has saved quite a few tries with his cover defence. He doesn’t shy away from physical contact and is a valuable asset for any team in the lineouts where he contests extremely well, using his pace, height and explosive jumping.

Henco’s season started with a bang scoring 3 hattricks in the first four matches of the season for Paarl Gimnasium. In their 1st match of the season Henco scored his first hattrick against Stellenberg and followed that up with hattricks against EG Jansen and Garsfontein at the Noord/Suid Tournament held at Waterkloof.

Henco achieved what most schoolboy rugby players never dare dreaming of. He represented South Africa at the International Windhoek 7’s Tournament scoring 2 tries in their victories against Zambia, SA Allstars and Namibia. After being selected for the Western Province u/18 Craven Week Team Henco was selected for the SA Schools team that played in the u/19 International Series against Wales, France and England. Henco Martins a name 2017 will remember.

Mark Snyman

Mark Snyman, Helpmekaar 1XV captain, who represented the Golden Lions for the past 3 years with distinction, victorious at the 2015 Grant Khomo week and 2017 Craven Week. Selected for the 2016 SA Schools A and 2017 SA Schools team. 

Instrumental in putting Helpies on the schoolboy rugby map as a sustainable top 10 contenders. Mark led Helpies to victory in the Virseker Beker (previously Beeld Trophy) from grade 8 to matric leading from the front using his form on field to encourage and lead his team mates.

An open-side flanker without equal, and his ball carying abilities, as a result of his excellent power and speed, resulted in a reputation feared among opposition teams. In 2017 Mark perfected the ability to turnover possession whenever required from the game plan. 

Francke Horn

The first a lot of people took notice of Francke Horn was during the 2016 Academy Week when he stood that much out during the Academy Week that he was selected for the SA Schools “A” Team for the u/19 International Series something not many boys achieved while playing at the Academy Week.

Francke’s is the complete modern day rugby player possessing of vision, exceptional skills with the ball in hand and is a brilliant link between the forwards and backs. Playing the modern 8th Man game but with added aggressive defence. His leadership qualities saw him appointed as Boishaai’s 1stXV captain for 2017 a role he is used to from his primary school days.

An unfortunate virus infection halted his season just before the 2017 Craven Week but it did not stop him from scoring 17 tries in 16 matches for Boishaai’s 1stXV. A sure pick for the SA Schools side for 2017 and favourite to be appointed as captain too.

Dian Bleuler

Dian Bleuler is a Uniondale farm boy who attended Oakdale Landbouskool for the past 5 years and made his mark as loosehead for the past 2 years in the 1stXV. Dian is always willing to learn and worked very hard to improve individual skills in the preseason as he understood and accepted the challenges to excel as a loosehead.

Dian represented Oakdale’s 1stXV and the SWD Cravenweek Team in 2016 already and this forced him to work very hard to compete with 118-year-olds at the top level. He worked very hard in the 2016 off season to improve his fitness and skills as he had this burning desire to perform. A lot of attention was given to his scrumming technique and his willingness to learn helped a lot and this showed making him one of the exciting boys to watch at the 2017 Craven Week.

A barefoot boy which has grown into an Oakdale bull – Soos n 8 wiel trekker-Vorentoe is sy pad! 

Asenathi Nhlabakanye

Asenathi started off 2017 a bit out of shape, and with serious questions regarding his conditioning. Again, Nhlabakanye got to work. He had a very good Craven week on his home turf, before being named the man of the match in the unofficial final against the Sharks after setting the field alight with the ball in hand.

It came as no surprise when Asenathi Nhlabakanye was selected for the SA Schools team of 2017. To top off a spectacular schoolboy rugby career he recently made his debut for the U19 Golden Lions in the Currie Cup competition against the Leopards in Potchefstroom. He will continue his development next year under the watchful eyes of the U19 coaching staff of the Golden Lions where he is now contracted. Dream realised. New dream, future Bok one day?                

He will continue his development next year under the watchful eyes of the U19 coaching staff of the Golden Lions where he is now contracted. Dream realised. New dream, future Bok one day?                

Cristen Van Niekerk

From being told that he will not play rugby in 2017 due to a back injury and not being able to do any training for the first three months of 2017 to become one of the standout players for the SA Schools Team during the u/19 International Series, Kwaggas’s nomination is no surprise.

As a highly rated #7 flank for the Monnas Witbulle in 2016 Kwagga was asked to “help out” in the 2016 Lions Craven Week team as a lock but was considered too “short” at 1.92m to be selected for the SA Schools Team. His work rate and physicality during the 2017 Craven Week made his omission unthinkable and his hard work was rewarded with his selection for the u/18 SA Schools Team.

Kwagga’s philosophy of hard work will get rewarded is also the way that he plays the game of rugby unforgiving and hard.


Travis Gordon

KES, Golden Lions Craven Week Team and SA Schools Captain must almost be enough to guarantee Travis this award. Travis has an unflinching work ethic and high self-expectation that has translated to demanding nothing short of a 100% from himself and his teammates. This and his love for the team sport that is rugby probably stems from the many lonely (hateful) hours spent as a junior elite swimmer! 

He prides himself on his defence and his distribution skills but is a strong ball carrier and is one of the quicker loosies around. Another strength is his aerial ability both at claiming kickoffs and his speed at the lineouts.

It could, however, be argued that his real asset is his ability to read a game:  where the breach will come, which ruck to target. He has good intuition and on more than one occasion for the Reds and the Lions made the corner try-saving tackle to change the momentum of a game. Travis like just about every other kid who plays rugby loves his rugby, but he loves the detail of it. He loves the matching of your wits as much as he loves the physicality of it. Whilst out injured in his gr11 year he spent the time doing detailed rugby analysis on the SARU software and loves working out how to outsmart the opposition. He also tries to watch every game he plays and is very critical of himself.


Phendulani (Pepsi) Buthelezi

Phendulani (Pepsi) Buthelezi is an outstanding leader who possesses incredible speed and physicality. His jumping ability in the line-outs makes him a multi-talented asset to any team. He is a complete player who can play both tight and loose. In space, he is one of the most dangerous loose forwards with the ball in hand in SA as he possesses extreme pace.

An extremely multi-talented individual who fits the mould of the modern-day loose forward. Highly skilled and extremely athletic.

At 1.88m and 95kg, this dynamic loose forward has been a member of the Sharks Craven Week team for the past 2 years as well as a member of the SA U18 Sevens side and is a massively exciting prospect. Pepsi was also selected, after an impressive 2017 Craven Week as a member of the SA Schools Team who faced England Wales and France in the u/19 International tournament hosted by SARU every year. Pepsi will join the Sharks in 2018.


Dylan Richardson

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. 


JJ van der Mescht

The 2017 season will be remembered for two things. One – injuries robbed the schoolboy rugby followers of some of our top if not the best talents. Two – the almost complete absence of really big and tall timber. And in both cases, the name of Juan Van Der Mescht must be mentioned.

Nursing an injury everybody did not give JJ a chance to complete the season in one piece. This gentle giant showed commitment and determination throughout the season to represent his school, Glenwood, The Sharks at the 2017 u/18 Craven Week and eventually the 2017 SA Schools team. Standing 200cm tall and weighing 130 kilograms JJ was the arguably the biggest boy in any match he played. Always using his big frame to intimidate the opposition but he also had a surprising burst of speed when needed.

During the Craven Week JJ must have been the most discussed player, captivating the admiration of fans and worrying the opposing coaches who had to plan their defence against him.


Vian Fourie

Vian Fourie was one of the star players in the Paarl Boishaai team that was very instrumental in the success of their game plan, attacking from turnover ball and the mistakes of their opponents. At 175cm tall and weighing 90 kg’s he is well suited to be the scavenger on the floor securing and turning over possession in the loose almost at will for the teams he represented.

Vian Fourie represented the Western Province at the u/18 Craven Week in 2017 as well as at the u/18 Academy Week in 2016. After a brilliant Craven Week, Vian played in al 3 matches he was selected to represent the Bokkies during the u/19 International Series played in Cape Town against Wales, England and France.

Being a very competitive person giving his everything on the attack and defence but one thing I remember was his sportsmanship always humble when praised and giving his opponents the respect he demands from them.