CRAIG LEWIS identifies five emerging youngsters who will be worth keeping an eye on in 2018.
The talented No 8 announced his arrival in no uncertain terms after he was named the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of 2017. Augustus will now be looking to make a name for himself at senior level, and he will provide the Stormers with another exciting option among their rich back-row resources. Having already had a brief taste of Super Rugby action last year, Augustus will be hungry to get a first full season under his belt.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed a miraculous return since overcoming a horror neck injury in 2014, with the youngster particularly producing some of the best rugby of his career during Western Province’s successful Currie Cup campaign last year. In light of the injury he suffered, Schickerling’s fearless style of play and affinity for tackling is especially impressive, while he is quickly developing into a highly efficient lineout exponent.
At a time when South African rugby is crying out for a young, local scrumhalf to make an impression, Papier is certainly one to watch. The former Junior Springbok has all the raw ingredients to take the next step up, and he should receive his first exposure to Super Rugby in 2018. Although Rudy Paige is sure to be the Bulls’ first-choice scrumhalf, the likes of Papier and Ivan van Zyl offer exciting alternatives.
The former Junior Springbok captain was finding some of his best form for the Sharks when he unfortunately suffered a broken collar bone towards the end of the 2017 Currie Cup. However, he should be firmly back in the Super Rugby mix for 2018, where he could reestablish an exciting midfield combination with Bok squad member Lukhanyo Am. Ward will turn 22 on 10 January, and all the signs suggest that this could be a coming-of-age season for the fleet-footed centre.
The UJ centre enjoyed a dream season in the 2017 Varsity Cup, and he will now be pushing for a place in the Lions’ Super Rugby squad. Having made a successful transition from wing to the midfield, Dyanti boasts the sort of attacking strengths that certainly appear well-suited to the Lions’ style of play. The Johannesburg-based side does boast a number of settled options in the midfield, but Dyanti has what it takes to emerge as the surprise package of 2018.
Photo: Nasief Manie/BackpagePix