CAPE TOWN – The Stormers win over the Rebels was a surprise in more ways than one.
Not only did Robbie Fleck’s team run in five tries – they had dotted down only 11 times previously in the entire competition – but it was achieved with a group of Super Rugby rookies.
There is great concern that South African rugby will lose stalwarts to the financial rewards of foreign shores after the World Cup, but these youngsters have shown the talent pipeline remains as strong as ever.
Here, we take a closer look at the young men heating up the game…
Ernst van Rhyn
The former Paarl Gymnasium prodigy has come through the youth ranks at Western Province, having firstly captained the WP Craven Week team before going on to lead the SA Schools team in 2016 and also the Junior Boks.
It was on the back of these performances that earned Van Rhyn a berth in John Dobson’s Currie Cup side last year where he continued to excel.
Standing 1.91m in his socks and tipping the scales at 104kg, Van Ryhn bears a striking resemblance to Pieter-Steph du Toit, who he idolises.
The lock-cum-flank was still playing for the Maties in the Varsity Cup this season.
Kobus van Dyk
At 24, Van Dyk is the oldest of the newbies, and has tasted Super Rugby action before. However, he certainly came of age on tour, putting in a solid shift after Pieter-Steph du Toit returned home to be at the birth of his son.
Although the Stormers performance against the Reds was a “shocker”, according to fullback Damian Willemse, Van Dyk was one of the few players to emerge with their reputation intact after scoring a solid try, to go with his efforts in the loose.
Fleck enjoys having Van Dyk in his loose-trio mix because “he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty”, and “is an honest, hard-working player”.
Another former SA Schools and Junior Bok captain, Moerat has struggled to cement a place in the Stormers line-up since leaving the rugby nursery of Paarl Boys’ High, purely due to the riches the Stormers possess at lock forward.
However, after Eben Etzebeth, JD Schickerling and Chris van Zyl all returned home midway through the Australasian tour, Moerat was the last man standing. He certainly put in a solid shift against the Rebels.
Stepping into the shoes of Eben Etzebeth is always a big task, and initially the 21-year-old struggled with the expectation.
But as the tour progressed, Wiese grew in stature and was exceptional in the win over the Rebels. Can play in both positions in the second row, while he can also cover flank.@ZaahierAdams