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South Africa 42 - 11 Wales (u18's)

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Post by GavinDragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 8:06 am

Watched the highlights on S4C last night (the english language commentary option were South African commentators; much to my amusement).

Not sure if this was the premier SA side at this level but despite the scoreline this was by no means all one way.

Positives for Wales - the scrum which, out of the 5 or so scrums they showed, was on top. Our boys also matched the Boks physically in defence and there some very big hits.

The main difference between the two teams was the Boks superior effifiency when in attack. They were ruthlessly clinical, scoring two quick fire tries before and after half time which took the game away from Wales. The Boks backline was quicker - they had some real pace and their 13 (Stedman Gans) was excellent. The other thing I liked about their play was their support lines. Whenever a baby Bok made a break, he had 3-4 men with him to either offload to (which they did to good effect) or clear the ruck to generate the quick ball. When Wales made breaks - and they did make a few - they were unable to capitalise as players got isolated, ball slowed down or turned over alltogher.

I also think that our lads are not used to playing at this intensity. Two of the Bok tries came from Welsh errors, one stray kick and a charge down and it just seemed that whenever SA put a kick behind us our FB was met with a green wall right upon them when our boys were still struggling to get back to support.

No doubt good experience for our lads and I think that is why the WRU send them. However, it shows that more needs too be done to ensure our regional 18's sides are playing in more competitive intense sides. (perhaps more cross border games vs english academies?)

As for the SA side, could anyone tell me whether this is their strongest side at this level? Also would be interested to know what competition structure you have your boys playing in at this age?

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Post by Biltong Sat 08 Aug 2015, 8:19 am

These boys play in a provincial Craven week where each province selects a squad from their best school boys, it is however important to note that transformation is seen as high priority for these teams, as they have a quota target to adhere to with matchday squads.

You could assess these squads two ways, are the best schoolboys represented, I don't think so, but it is very important that transformation does take place at this level to increase the non white talent pool.

Sadly there are still not enough African black players representing themselves, however it is improving.

One thing you will note is the coloured community tends to be smaller than the Afrikaners so most of them will be back line players and they fo bring a lot of skill, nippy pace and ability to step. One might say they are more skilled as footballers than the Afrikaner boys.

The African boys tend to split more to being forwards, but you do get some back line players as well.
If transformation becomes successful, I personally think there will be a better blend of size, strength, skill and pace in our professional teams.

Most of these boys come from historically rugby schools, these schools have some serious traditions in place and take their rugby very serious.

The Craven week has different age groups and has been running for many many years.

Craven week is a very proud tradition in South Africa for any rugby fan and especially for the boys.

Even Namibia and Zimbabwe are invited.

Out of these provinces a SAU18 is then selected, or better known as SA schools team.
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Post by Biltong Sat 08 Aug 2015, 8:28 am

If you would like to know more about Craven week go to this Link
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Post by maestegmafia Sat 08 Aug 2015, 8:53 am

Bill I too saw the highlights and I would also like to give credit where it is due to those backs.

The young boys were sublime in attack. We were out classed.

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Post by Biltong Sat 08 Aug 2015, 9:16 am

Yeah, they do bring a lot of ball skills to our rugby.

You just need to look at Dylan Leyts (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers) Seabelo Senatla (Stormers) Nizaam Carr (Stormers) Rudy Paige (Bulls ) Kevin Luiters (Kings) Subaru Sithole (Sharks) to name a few.

Then of course we have Damian de Allende in the current Bok setup, a youngster with a huge future ahead of him. I think he and Jesse Kriel will be our first choice midfield for the next 8 years, they ran Nonu and Conrad Smith into dust. They do have some defensive issues that should improve over time
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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:08 am

This competition in SA has been going for a few years now. I think it consists of SA, Eng, Wales and France all playing one another in SA. This looks as if it's our worst result yet, so Wales U18 have gone backwards, as have the U20. A scary thought and the WRU needs to act fast. I'm not sure what could be done but there are more rumours of 'jobs for the boys' surrounding coaching and selection, so firstly get rid of that. The regional academies play English club academies every year before the start of the regional tournament.

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Post by GavinDragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:19 am

While I don't think this result justifies your hyperbole - I do think there is too much nepotism in Welsh rugby, both on the field and off.

Also, bear in mind the result last year was similar - and we didnt receive a red card last year.

I think looking at the number of teams that compete in Cravenweek. It is just that thhat competition is more competitive and intense than our equivalent regional championship. Which kind of makes sense when you consider the number of players eligible to compete in both competitions.

I wonder what the equivalent is in England - anyone know?

EDIT* Interestingly there are approximaelt 155 schools that provide players to the sides that compete in Cravenweek.

Now there are 233 secondary schools in Wales. I wonder how many have a rugby side and participate in any meaningful competition and provide players to their districts?

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:33 am

Why is it hyperbole? I suggest you go back farther than last years results (you could do that for the U20 teams too) and tell me if you see a trend. You should do, unless you struggle with comprehension. Facts aren't hyperbole. There is no decent schools rugby in Wales and hasn't been for years. We have clubs and professional academies. Whether or not reverting back to utilising schools rugby would help I don't know. SA are good no doubt and have good systems in place, but that doesn't excuse loser attitudes from supporters who are okay with the result.

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Post by Poorfour Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:46 am

GavinDragon, since you asked I think the English system works like this.

Most kids play mini and midi rugby at a school, club or both. There are national schools tournaments, clubs tend to play in county level tournaments.

At U13, the RFU runs selection sessions from which county players are selected. Some kids also get invited to join a feeder process that leads into the club academies.

I think at U16 there's still a mix of school, club and academy kids in the national side, but by U18 the teams are almost exclusively drawn from academy players, who I think go full time in the academies once they leave school.
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Post by GavinDragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:55 am

Because this result is very similar to the corresponding fixture last year (40-15), so while your comment 'this looks as if it is our worst result left' is correct, given the context of the result (we were down to 14 for the last quarter) your assertion that the 'u18's have gone backwards' based on this result alone is hyperbolic. I would say they are the same or very similar. However, the u20's have indeed gone backwards.

And you are correct we have academies; starting at u16's. But how do players for these academies?

Primarily players are selected from the Dewar Shield Competition; which consists of district sides selected from the players that SCHOOLS send to represent them. This happens at u15's and then the academies (Dragons Blues Ospreys and Scarlets) start at 16.

The reason this matters is because if there are a small pool of schools that play rugby the player pool at that level is reduced, meaning less competition and a general lower standard as districts have to select a poorer standard of player to make up the numbers for their squads.

So I am not suggesting that we change the pathway. I think it works. We just need to ensure we maximise the playing pool at u15's to ensure we have the most numbers to choose from and increase the standard.

And I am certainly not okay with the results. But rather than do the usual welsh thing and blame the coaches or the players or not appreciate the standard of the opposition, lets look at what we are doing and how can we improve it so we are producing players who are equipped to compete at all levels against all sides.

I would look at the games the u16's and u18's play. At 16's we have the regional championship which consists of Dragons North, Dragons South, Blues North, Blues South, Ospreys West, Ospreys East, Scarlets East, Scarlets West, RGC Calon and RGC Balch.

At 18's this condenses to just the four regions plus RGC. It is clear that these fixtures and not providing the same intensity, experience and development of skills as its SA counterparts.

So how do we improve it; is it coaching? Is the emphasis iin these fixtures more on winning rather than developing skills that will help them on the international stage?

Should are regional sides be playing academies from England to expose them to (potentially) better teams?





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Post by GavinDragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 10:56 am

Poorfour wrote:GavinDragon, since you asked I think the English system works like this.

Most kids play mini and midi rugby at a school, club or both. There are national schools tournaments, clubs tend to play in county level tournaments.

At U13, the RFU runs selection sessions from which county players are selected. Some kids also get invited to join a feeder process that leads into the club academies.

I think at U16 there's still a mix of school, club and academy kids in the national side, but by U18 the teams are almost exclusively drawn from academy players, who I think go full time in the academies once they leave school.

What competition do the county teams play in?

And what competition do the u18's academies play in?

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Post by Biltong Sat 08 Aug 2015, 12:00 pm

GavinDragon wrote:Because this result is very similar to the corresponding fixture last year (40-15), so while your comment 'this looks as if it is our worst result left' is correct, given the context of the result (we were down to 14 for the last quarter) your assertion that the 'u18's have gone backwards' based on this result alone is hyperbolic. I would say they are the same or very similar. However, the u20's have indeed gone backwards.

And you are correct we have academies; starting at u16's. But how do players for these academies?

Primarily players are selected from the Dewar Shield Competition; which consists of district sides selected from the players that SCHOOLS send to represent them. This happens at u15's and then the academies (Dragons Blues Ospreys and Scarlets) start at 16.

The reason this matters is because if there are a small pool of schools that play rugby the player pool at that level is reduced, meaning less competition and a general lower standard as districts have to select a poorer standard of player to make up the numbers for their squads.

So I am not suggesting that we change the pathway. I think it works. We just need to ensure we maximise the playing pool at u15's to ensure we have the most numbers to choose from and increase the standard.

And I am certainly not okay with the results. But rather than do the usual welsh thing and blame the coaches or the players or not appreciate the standard of the opposition, lets look at what we are doing and how can we improve it so we are producing players who are equipped to compete at all levels against all sides.

I would look at the games the u16's and u18's play. At 16's we have the regional championship which consists of Dragons North, Dragons South, Blues North, Blues South, Ospreys West, Ospreys East, Scarlets East, Scarlets West, RGC Calon and RGC Balch.

At 18's this condenses to just the four regions plus RGC. It is clear that these fixtures and not providing the same intensity, experience and development of skills as its SA counterparts.

So how do we improve it; is it coaching? Is the emphasis iin these fixtures more on winning rather than developing skills that will help them on the international stage?

Should are regional sides be playing academies from England to expose them to (potentially) better teams?





Just to add to that.

We also have an U19 and U21 Currie Cup, so these guys all get contracts (although money is limited) to play competitive provincial rugby after school.

Those that are contracted but don't compete in Currie Cup will play in the Varsity Cup which is a tiered competition where the best 8 universities compete ate the premier level
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Post by Poorfour Sat 08 Aug 2015, 12:12 pm

GavinDragon wrote:
Poorfour wrote:GavinDragon, since you asked I think the English system works like this.

Most kids play mini and midi rugby at a school, club or both. There are national schools tournaments, clubs tend to play in county level tournaments.

At U13, the RFU runs selection sessions from which county players are selected. Some kids also get invited to join a feeder process that leads into the club academies.

I think at U16 there's still a mix of school, club and academy kids in the national side, but by U18 the teams are almost exclusively drawn from academy players, who I think go full time in the academies once they leave school.

What competition do the county teams play in?

And what competition do the u18's academies play in?

I'm pretty sure there's an inter-county comp. The U18s I think divide their time between school and club, and are sometimes dual registered. I think they also play a lot of 7s
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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 08 Aug 2015, 1:15 pm

GavinDragon, I said go back farther and analyse results against all opposition. I expect similar, upcoming results to this against England as well, although it's yet to happen. With all this in mind they HAVE gone backwards a lot like the U20 teams.

The Dewar Shield is a good competition. To improve it should perhaps include teams from North Wales. The union should also continue to increase its investment into schools rugby to improve the level rugby and number of kids taking up the sport. The question is who takes precedent over the players, as the clubs in Wales are strong and very much at the heart of the community, and there will be another fight between clubs and schools. Though as I remember, schools rugby does have the priority over players in case of match clashes - much to the dislike of players as they love to play for their local clubs.

At U20 level we've had some good players, but the results have been nothing short of embarrassing in recent times. The blame there lies with the coaches and the union for employing such amateurs. Even in the past we've had Phil Davies coach all over Wales. He is probably the worst welsh coach ever, but he knows people, therefore he's still in employment somewhere (in Wales it was RGC I think). I think we need to also invest in Welsh college's and Wales university teams, effectively treating them as Wales U18 and U20 A teams. Then we have a larger and hopefully better group of players.

We've got limited resources, they need to be better utilised. Rugby nations with similar circumstances manage it. I've already highlighted that they do play England's club academies. The assertion that they're better is a bit of a strange complex to have.

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Post by DaveM Sat 08 Aug 2015, 2:40 pm

England are in the same competition, and beat France 15 -7. Interestingly England now play SA u18A and SA u18s.

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Post by Biltong Sat 08 Aug 2015, 3:26 pm

They usually match up pretty well against one another
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Post by maestegmafia Mon 10 Aug 2015, 9:23 am

Biltong wrote:Yeah, they do bring a lot of ball skills to our rugby.

You just need to look at Dylan Leyts (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers) Seabelo Senatla (Stormers) Nizaam Carr (Stormers) Rudy Paige (Bulls ) Kevin Luiters (Kings) Subaru Sithole (Sharks) to name a few.

Then of course we have Damian de Allende in the current Bok setup, a youngster with a huge future ahead of him. I think he and Jesse Kriel will be our first choice midfield for the next 8 years, they ran Nonu and Conrad Smith into dust. They do have some defensive issues that should improve over time

It takes time to polish the edges.

I agree they look special.

Sad news old JDV took a knock. Might we see a youngster called up for the RWC...?

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Post by Biltong Mon 10 Aug 2015, 9:40 am

Sadly it is time for Jean de Villiers to make the call himself, Meyer won't as he is stuck on experience.

De Villiers will go into the RWC with 100 minutes of first class rugby since November last year.
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Post by Mr Fishpaste Tue 11 Aug 2015, 7:43 am

Biltong wrote:Sadly it is time for Jean de Villiers to make the call himself, Meyer won't as he is stuck on experience.

De Villiers will go into the RWC with 100 minutes of first class rugby since November last year.

...and he's notably off the pace...

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