On the 2nd July 2017, Titans Rugby u16 Rugby Team descended on Frankfort, in the Free State to embark on their VKB u16 Rugby Week journey. This would be a first for Titans Rugby, having never fielded or competed with a team in this age group before. It was always going to be challenging, especially as a number of unions use this tournament as a development and preparation exercise for their elite rugby players which go on to compete in Grant Khomo Week and so on. This year would see teams such as the Griffons, Leopards, Lynx, Noord Natal, Rooikatte and various Vrystaat teams compete for the title.
In their first game, the Titans Rugby u16 would take on a very strong unit in the Rooikatte, a team made up of the Pretoria Private Schools, filled with talent and size. The game started off quickly, with the Titans players firing in quick tries and keeping their opposition chasing the game, two late unconverted tries would not be enough in the second half as Titans ran out 24-10 winners in their opening game. Titans captain, Jared Steyn, led the way and in the process picked up the man of the match award. Tries came from Zack De Jager, Shaun Potgieter and Kenan Janse Van Rensburg. Fullback Donovan Styger would convert all three conversions and a penalty.
In the second game, Titans would face favourites and last year’s finalists, Noord-Natal. On the day it would be Noord-Natal who would take their earlier chances and make it count, scoring two quick unanswered tries and ensuring that the Titans players chased the game. Noord-Natal led by twenty points at half time and after a quick and highly spirited half time team talk, the Titans players came out on fire and ensured that they at least got on the score board with a converted try and ensured they won the second half. Unfortunately however it would not be enough plagued by mistakes and errors, the Titans team would suffer their first loss, going down 7-25 against the strong Noord-Natal team. The try was scored by JC Viljoen and converted successfully by Masi Pooe.
Day three and the final day of the tournament would see Titans Rugby play off against a talent filled Leopards team for third place. This Leopards team suffered a very close defeat to the EP Kings Academy team, who would face off in the final against Noord-Natal. On this day though, this Titans team was more than up for the challenged and against of the majority opinion bullied the opposition and ensured an one way contest for third place. Led by the tackling and running of Oliver Mayall, the backline played with vigorous energy and fluidity, which saw he pick up the Man of the Match award. With some strong defense, the Titans players ensured that the Leopards side did not even get on the scoreboard running out 24-0 victors and claiming an overall third place in VKB u16 Rugby Week. Tries came from Oliver Mayall, Eugen Van Biljon, JC Viljoen and Jared Steyn. Donovan Styger converted two succesfully penalties.
The overall winners of the VKB u16 Rugby Week would be Noord-Natal who would go on to beat the EP Kings Academy in the final.
We are extremely proud of the boys,
a first for us and some of them at only u15 will be back next year.
– Dani Ribeiro
Awards for the tournament included 3 boys who would make the Dubai Team (best player in their position), these included Jared Steyn (flanker), Shaun Potgieter (8th Man) and Oliver Mayall (centre). Additionally another five players would make the reserves team, these included Michale Naidoo (flyhalf), Donovan Styger (fullback), Bradley Engelbrecht (prop), Ruan Van Staden (Hooker) and Ian Parsons (prop and only u15 selected). Finally, Jared Steyn also picked up the Forward of the Tournament award. All in all, a great and successful experience for this age group.
The Titans Rugby u16 Team that placed third overall at the VKB u16 Rugby Week were;
2-Ruan van Staden
4-Zack De Jager
6-Jared Steyn (captain)
7-Johan Christiaan “JC” Grundlingh (vice-captain)
12-Eugene van Biljon
14-Kenan van Rensburg
15-Donovan Styger (vice-captain)
17-Justin van der Sandt
Titans Rugby would just like to thank all our players, parents and supporters for illustrating the high ethical values and ensuring that the team were a proud example to everyone at all times. Additionally a huge thank you to our sponsors for their support in order to make such events happen. Cell C, Firstclass Projects, Sportlocker, Master Power Technologies and Gliderol. Lastly, a thank you to Adidas for coming on-board as our apparel partner for this event.