HARARE – Zimbabwe rugby is on the verge of losing another talent to South Africa after former Junior Sables vice-captain Eli Snyman was called up for the Junior Springboks trial camp being held in Cape Town. By Farayi Machamire
The towering lock has been in sublime form for Vodacom Blue Bulls’ Under-19 side and it is no surprise the Junior Springboks technical team believe he can make the grade.
The former St John’s College rugby captain is part of 56 players included in the trial camp which South Africa is using to prepare for their assault on the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The 2016 tournament takes place in Manchester, England in June with the training group assembled in Cape Town expected to be trimmed next week.
Snyman’s call up follows an inspiration year and a half for the Tshwane-based franchise junior side.
Last year, he was named the Blue Bulls Under-19 Forward-of-the-Year following an exceptional debut season.
Snyman was part of the Zimbabwe schools Under-18 side at the 2014 Coca-Cola Craven Week festival in Polokwane where he caught the eyes of the Blue Bulls scouts.
The powerful lock was one of the few bright sparks for the Junior Sables in a tournament they would like to forget after they lost all their three matches.
It was no surprise that the Loftus Versfeld Stadium-based franchise went on to sign the Zimbabwean and enrol him into their academy which houses their development side.
Junior Sables Under-20 rugby assistant coach Bob Mahari admitted it was another loss for Zimbabwe rugby but wished Snyman all the best in his career.
Mahari said Snyman would have been an invaluable asset to the Junior Sables side that is set to battle in an eight-team tournament from April 15 to May 2.
The winner is set to walk away with the sole ticket to compete at next year’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Several foreign-based players have been included in the Junior Sables’ provisional squad of 33 players with the technical team pulling all the stops in their efforts to make a lasting impression at the prestigious tournament.
However, a host of the players are still to turn up for Zimbabwe while those who could have been the mainstay of the team have been pushed by circumstances to pursue their rugby careers elsewhere.
This comes as the country has continued to experience a drain in all departments due to lack of resources largely due to continued economic decline and political instability.
Junior Springboks trial squad: Jan-Henning Campher, Tinus de Beer, Aston Fortuin, Stedman Gans, Denzel Hill, Jaco Holtzhausen, JT Jackson, Manie Libbok, Andell Loubser, Franco Naude, Divan Rossouw, Hendre Stassen, Eli Snyman, Gavin van den Berg, Franco van den Berg, Luigy van Jaarsveld, De Wet Bezuidenhout, Mosolwa Mafuma, Victor Maruping, Le Roux Baard, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Rhyno Herbst, Lusanda Badiyana, Tango Balelike, Michael Brink,James Hall, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Lupumlo Mguca, Junior Pokomela, Roche van Zyl, Keanu Vers, Jeremy Ward, Stephanus Nieuwoudt, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Curwin Bosch, Morne Joubert, S’busiso Nkosi, Zweli Siluale, Saud Abrahams, Ruan Brits, Paul de Wet, Eduan Keyter, Daniel Maree, Gary Porter, Duncan Saal, Carlo Sadie, Tiaan Swanepoel, Ernst van Rhyn, Jaco Willemse, Eduard Zandberg, Jaco Coetzee, Zane Davids, Ruben de Villiers, Wikus Groenewald, Edwill van der Merwe, Kuyenseka Xaba.