Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week PLAYER PROFILE – JAKO VAN DER WALT
Jako Van der Walt is not quite 18 yet, and, despite suffering a number of injuries last season, has a bright rugby career in front of him.
He was named at flyhalf for the South African Schools team at the end of the Coca-Cola Craven Week in Kimberly last year, but could turn out for them in their matches because of injury. Then he broke his jaw in an early season game for his school, Monument, this year and missed much of the school’s season.
The good news, however, is that he has fully recovered and will wear the no.10 shirt for the Golden Lions at this year’s Coca-Cola Craven Week in Port Elizabeth from July 9 to 14.
Jako is no stranger to schools interprovincial rugby. This will be the fifth time that he will appear at a youth week. He played in the Coca-Cola under-13 Craven Week, the under-16 Grant Khomo Week and this is his second under-18 Craven Week. He also played in an under-12 interprovincial week when he was in grade six.
He says playing in the under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week has been the highlight of his career so far. “The Coca-Cola Craven Week is a great opportunity to show your talents in front of the people who are important in professional rugby and I definitely want to make rugby my career,” he says.
“It’s an honour to represent your province at any level and the Lions will be going all out for three wins in PE next week.
Making the SA Schools team again would be a bonus, Van der Walt says, but if he doesn’t make it there’s still plenty to play for. “Most of our injured players are back for Monument now and we have our local league final early next term,” he says.
As far as the future is concerned, Van der Walt says he has had a number of bursary offers but has not made a decision yet. “For now my focus is fully on the Coca-Cola Craven Week and we are hard at training.
The fixtures for the first two days are:
Monday July 9 – Leopards v Namibia, Boland v Griquas, Lions v Border, Free State v KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Province v Valke.
Tuesday July 10 – Zimbabwe v Border CD, Griquas CD v Eastern Province CD, SWD v Limpopo, Pumas v Griffons, Western Province v Blue Bulls.