While most other unions struggle to get their club system going again after rugby clubs received the green light from authorities following a year’s no-play period, it is all smiles in Pretoria.
The senior clubs are going well – obviously each with its own challenges – but it is the enthusiasm of the youngsters that have been a worry throughout the country that is especially heartwarming at the current home of the Currie Cup and all the other national trophies.
How many school leavers will return? Will the (very) alarming trend of primary school players dropping out when they go to high school continue?
These two questions have been answered emphatically last week.
With no post-matric avenues to catch national selectors’ eyes for those who were not identified before the series of lockdowns and a ban on sport started, the Bulls have been caught out with a surprising reaction from their Under-20s.
- And no less than179 boys entered for the U14 trials at Affies, and the support from parents is evident: there are 220 mothers on their Rugby Group!
- The Bulls clubs have entered a record number of U20-teams in the leagues and Wessel du Plessis will closely watch for new talent – many of them no doubt players who would or could have made it to the 2020 Craven week.
Du Plessis, who is head of junior rugby at the Bulls, will play friendlies with his contracted squad of 38 juniors against the A Section club teams in matches that will act as trials to identify more talent. Part of his job description is to develop local juniors to ultimately make it to the top with the Bulls.