Former Test referee JONATHAN KAPLAN picks a team made up of the best schoolboy players he has refereed over the past 36 years.
This hasn’t been an exhaustive research project, so I may have missed some players, but I’ve tried to include those I remember.
The team is slanted in favour of the Western Cape schools as that is where I have done most of my games. I don’t have a player from Boland Landbou in my team, but for me, they are the most impressive South African rugby school. They have so few pupils yet regularly turn out the toughest teenagers en masse.
It’s a pity I couldn’t have refereed a wider selection of schools over a bigger area, including some of the smaller schools, but I only have limited time and I’ve done what I could.
JK’s Schoolboy XV:
15. Willie le Roux (Paul Roos)
Honourable mentions to Muller du Plessis (Paarl Gym) and Damian Willemse (Paul Roos).
14. James Small (Greenside)
13. Paul Jordaan (Grey Bloem)
Rising stars Dawid Kellerman and Stefan du Toit from Paarl Gimnasium will go all the way!
12. Jan Serfontein (Grey Bloem)
Monument’s Henco van Wyk has also impressed me!
11. Dillyn Leyds (Bishops)
10. Johan Goosen (Grey Bloem) & Handré Pollard (Paarl Gim)
Bishops’ Sacha Mngomezulu is tipped as a future Bok!
9. Herschel Jantjies (Paul Roos)
Honourable mentions to Louis Schreuder (Paarl Gim) and Nic Groom (Rondebosch).
8. Bob Skinstad (Hilton)
Honourable mentions to Nick Köster (Bishops) and Rayn Smid (Rondebosch).
7. Schalk Burger (Paarl Gim)
Charl Serdyn (Paarl Boys’ High) also made a huge impact on me but is vertically challenged. Honourable mentions too for Kyle Brown (SACS) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Wynberg).
6. Siya Kolisi (Grey PE)
Honourable mention to Francois Louw (Bishops) and look out for Grey Bloem captain George Cronjé!
5. Andries Bekker (Paul Roos)
4. Marvin Orie (Tygerberg)
Honourable mentions to JD Schickerling (Paarl Gim) and Salman Moeraat (Paarl Boys’ High).
3. Frans Malherbe (Paarl Boys’ High)
Brian le Roux from Rondebosch also has the makings of a top player.
2. Ashley Johnson (Paarl Gim)
Honourable mention to André-Hugo Venter from Grey Bloem.
1. Thomas du Toit (Paarl Boys’ High )
Robbie Rogers from Paul Roos can follow in the footsteps of his dad Heinrich.
Coach: Jake White (Jeppe)
Most impressive teams I refereed:
1. Grey Bloem (2010, 2019)
2. Paarl Gim (2008)
3. Paarl Boys’ (2016, 2017)
4. Paul Roos (2006, 2018)
Top schools in general I referred:
1. Grey Bloem
2. Paarl Gim
3. Paarl Boys’
Biggest upsets I refereed:
1. SACS 22 Paarl Gim 19 (2017)
2. Paarl Boys’ High 19 Boland Landbou 23 (2009)
3. Paul Roos 16 Grey PE 41 (2008)
4. Paarl Gim 18 Rondebosch 32 (2011)
WATCH BELOW – Kaplan on the most memorable 1st XV matches of his career: