This year's ABSA Currie Cup has been played without the Springbok players for most of the season up to now. Bar the odd fringe player that was released during the Tri-Nations all the unions that had Springbok players in Peter De Villiers' squad of 30 players were without them up and to the past weekend. This was not a as bad as everyone thought. Not only did it give the smaller unions a fighting chance it also served to expose new, young talent to us all. Let's look at some of these younger guys and what future they may have.
Dimitri Catrakilis, 22, started the Currie Cup season as probably the 4th or even 5th choice fly-half for WP. Due to injury to players like Lionel Cronje and the fact that Peter Grant left for Japan, suddenly he was the first choice. This young man kicks beautiful at goal. Add to that his excellent defence and the way he runs at the defence and you have a really good fly-half. His kicking from hand can also not be faulted. If he can stay fit and injury free he will have a long bright future in rugby.
Siya Kolisi is another player from the WP stable that has proven he knows how to play rugby. As a flanker he stepped in and filled the void left by the likes of Francois Louw and Schalk Burger in the team. Kolisi is a quality player that can fetch as well as clean out at the breakdown. His defence is way above standard and in open play he adds that extra dimension to the back line.
JJ Engelbrecht and Johann Sadie are two more players from WP that's worth mentioning. These two can interchange between wing and centre with ease. It is clear to see why the Blue Bulls have signed contracts with the youngsters taking them from WP.
Sithole, the Sharks winger, has surprised me a lot. Not only does he have a lot of speed but he is solid on attack and defence. A strong runner and not easy to stop once he gets going. He has a wonderful side step. If he turns you he is gone. A valuable asset to any team.
The Cheetahs have a couple of players worth mentioning. Boom Prinsloo is another loose forward that will have a long career. He is the real deal. Lappies Labuschagne is lock that will soon break into the international scene if given the chance. Then there is Johan Goosen, the 19 year old fly-half. This young man has had 29 attempts at goal this season and missed only 2. Both kicks he missed were from his side of the field and on the angle. He also posses the ability to make choices under pressure that puts his team back on the front foot. Between him and Catrakilis we might well have our future Springbok fly-half.
Griquas are losing some of their young stars next season to bigger provinces or overseas teams. Rian Viljoen has a boot on him that equals that of Frans Steyn and he is not afraid to attempt a drop goal from his own 10m line. He has done this many a time to the demise of the opposition. He has shown this season that he is comfortable at full back, wing, fly-half and even centre. The Sharks made a good buy in this young man.
Sarel Pretorius is another young star from the Northern Cape. He will be leaving to ply his trade as scrum-half at the Waratahs next season. Watch out for this young man in the Super Rugby competition. Many a South African team will rue the fact that they didn't offer him a contract. The new Springbok management will doe well to get him in a green and gold jersey before Australia offers him their gold one.
These are all young players with bright futures where ever they decide to play the game of rugby. Any team offering these guys a contract will receive value for money. And if you hear these names in future teams take note as they may well go to the next World Cup.
But like always these are just my views....