Both GLRU junior teams qualify for semi’s

Sep 28 • General News • 1939 Views • Comments Off on Both GLRU junior teams qualify for semi’s

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Hard work, good contracting and investing in the youth of Gauteng has paid dividends for the Golden Lions Rugby Union with both the Under 19 and Under 21 sides who qualified for their respective semi-finals.

The Unions’ Under 21’s ended second on the log just behind Western Province while inside centre Shaun Reynolds is the top points scorer in the competition.

The Under 19 Cubs ended third on the log behind Western Province (1) and the Blue Bulls (2) but scored a new national Currie Cup record number of tries in their campaign with 73 tries.

The Under 19 fullback Jeanluc Cilliers scored the most points in the competition with his 156 while the top two spots for most tries goes to Lions wingers Michael Tambwe (12) and Stean Pienaar (11).

According to Bart Schoeman, Manager of High Performance at the GLRU, this success, the first of its kind for the union in many seasons, is a testament of the collective hard work of all involved as well as a procurement system that works.

“The big plus is that most of the Under 19, Under 20 and Under 21 players are students while the Under 21’s haven’t reached a semi in their age groups in the last two years.” Schoeman is especially pleased with the great relationship that exist between the union and the two universities on their doorstep, the University of Johannesburg and Wits University.

“They have done so well this year, they could’ve ended up unbeaten. It obviously shows the character of the players and they have worked very hard this season, as did the coaches, but it shows that the development of these youngsters in our system work well,” says Schoeman.

Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the GLRU, was also very happy with the performance of the union’s youngsters “We have a lot of depth and this bodes well going into the future.”

Senior coach Johan Ackermann also eluded to the depth of the union. “We are very proud of our juniors with both our teams reaching their respective semi-finals. Many of the under 21’s also tasted Currie Cup rugby when they had to step up and do duty during this years’ Currie Cup Qualifying round.”

A total of 19 of the Under 21 players were in action in the Qualifying round with an average of ten players per game where they were exposed to senior players like Marnitz Boshoff and other Super Rugby players.

A further feather in the cap of the administrators is that ten of the 23 players who were in action in their last U/21 group match on Saturday against the Kings in Port Elizabeth were still Under 20.

Most of the Under 19’s are full-time students while six players were used through the season who are non-contracted students, while five school boys were also involved in the campaign.

The Under 19 coaches are Joey Mongalo, Neil de Bruin and Philip Lemmer while the Under 21’s are coached by Herkie Kruger, Bafana Nhleko and Wessel Roux.

Another big plus is that the GLRU managed to keep their players who were selected for the SA School sides in 2015 and 2016. Players like Wandile Simelani, PJ Botha, Nathan McBeth, Ruan Vermaak, Tatenda Mujawo, PJ Botha, Christopher Havenga and Hacjivah Dayimani are all contracted by the Lions.

“We are excited about the future of Lions rugby if you look at the talent currently in our system. We also have a solution for those youngsters who do not qualify for university as we will be offering, in conjunction with Xerox, NQF6 courses in the near future while we are also in the process of acquiring accommodation in our precinct. This means our juniors will be able to live and study on the GLRU grounds and we are very excited about that,” Schoeman concluded.

The semi-finals of the two junior sides take place on 15 October when the Under 19’s travel to Loftus while the Under 21’s host the Blue Bulls at home.

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