Schools stars join SA Sevens

Schools stars join SA Sevens

Three of the most promising young players in South Africa have signed contracts to play the next two years for the Springbok Sevens side. The trio of SA Schools stars are William Small-Smith of Grey College and Free State, Craig Barry and Tshotsho Mbovane, who both hail from Paul Roos and represented Western Province at the recent Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week in Welkom.

Three of the most promising young players in South Africa have signed contracts to play the next two years for the Springbok Sevens side.

The trio of SA Schools stars are William Small-Smith of Grey College and Free State, Craig Barry and Tshotsho Mbovane, who both hail from Paul Roos and represented Western Province at the recent Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week in Welkom.

Barry is an attacking fullback, while Small-Smith and Mbovane play at outside centre. They were selected for the SA Schools U18 team after shining for their respective provinces in Welkom.

All three players are products of the SARU U18 High Performance programme.

The players’ two year contracts will start from 1 January 2011, giving them the chance to complete their final school year.

South Africa were one of the first nations to employ full time Sevens professionals who are based in Stellenbosch. After taking the Series in 08/09, last season proved a rebuilding period for Paul Treu’s squad as they finished sixth overall.

The new Springbok Sevens contracted players were presented to the media during a press conference earlier today at the Sports Science Institute of SA Building in Newlands, where they were flanked by Paul Treu (Springbok Sevens coach) and Masimla.

Treu said the signing of the three schoolboy stars signify the introduction of a new career path for young professional rugby players in South Africa.

“It is crucial that we create opportunities for our many young promising players. South Africa is blessed with so much talent and not every youngster can break into the senior ranks. These three players represent the start of a new direction for us and I am confident that the High Performance programme will deliver many more players of their calibre in the future.

“It would be great if we can go to the Olympics in 2016 and these three players are established players of the Springbok Sevens team,” said Treu.

Masimla explains the purpose of the High Performance programme:

“SARU has established a HP system that acts as a pathway that reaches from junior level right to the senior ranks. This player pathway is based on the long term athlete development model, where players are identified and kept in the HP system for as long as possible.”

The Springbok Sevens training squad assembles on Monday at their base in Stellenbosch as preparations begin for the Commonwealth Games in October.