In the final article of a series, DYLAN JACK rewinds to the 2012 World Rugby U20 Championship and looks at what happened to the title-winning Junior Springboks.
JUNIOR SPRINGBOKS (vs New Zealand):
16 Franco Marais
Marais was called into the squad after Jason Thomas picked up a head injury in the final pool match against England. The hooker, who represented the Sharks at U19 and U21 levels, would go on to seal his place as their senior No 2 after the departure of Bismarck du Plessis to France. After winning close to 50 Super Rugby caps, Marais decided to join coach Johan Ackermann at Gloucester. While he would play the initial part of his Premiership career as a substitute, his impressive displays in 2019-20 season have earned him a place in the starting lineup.
17 Allan Dell
The former Queen’s College schoolboy – who also played for SA Schools – would seal a dream 2012 by making his Currie Cup debut for the Sharks in the same year. However, after spending another year in Durban, he decided to sign for Edinburgh in 2014 as he qualified to play for Scotland through his grandmother. He was included in an extended Scotland squad in 2014, but injury prevented him from making his debut that year. His long-awaited first Test cap did eventually come against the Wallabies at Murrayfield and he would earn the distinction of becoming a British & Irish Lion during their tour to New Zealand in 2017. After making 84 appearances for Edinburgh, he decided to move to England with London Irish in 2019 and currently still plays for the Premiership side.
18 Oliver Kebble
The son of former Springbok Guy Kebble, Olivier played junior club rugby in France in 2011 before returning to South Africa with Western Province in 2012. He would continue to play age-grade rugby for Province, helping them win the U21 provincial title in 2013 and was named as the team’s Forward of the Year. His Stormers debut came a year late as cover for Junior Bok teammate Steven Kitshoff in 2014. Kitshoff’s departure to Bordeaux in 2015 meant that Kebble was installed as the Stormers frontline loosehead prop. However, when Kitshoff returned to the Stormers, Kebble went in the opposite direction as he signed for the Glasgow Warriors. Currently, he has made 47 appearances for the Warriors and was part of the team that lost the final to Leinster in 2019.
19 Braam Steyn
Steyn, who born in the Eastern Cape and schooled at Paul Roos in Stellenbosch, played just twice for the Sharks in 2012 and decided to move to Italy in 2013. It would be an inspired choice by the loose forward as he represented Calvisano between 2013 and 2015 before joining Benetton Treviso in 2015. After qualifying to play for Italy on the residency rule, he made his Test debut in the Six Nations match against England in 2016. Steyn would star for both Treviso and Italy, helping the PRO14 side in the playoffs for the first time in their history, while forming part of a strong Italian pack during the 2019 World Cup.
20 Shaun Adendorff
One of the stars of the U20 Championship, Adendorff was a key figure in the Junior Springboks’ charge towards the title, memorably scoring two tries in the vital bonus-point pool victory over England. His efforts earned him nomination as Junior World Player of the Year, but he was edged out by teammate Jan Serfontein. After the Championship, Adendorff returned to the Vodacom Bulls and helped the U21 side into the provincial final in 2012 and 2013. He also played for UP-Tuks in the 2013 Varsity Cup and helped them claim the title, scoring five tries in eight games. He then switched codes to sevens and played for the Blitzboks in the 2013-14 World Sevens Series, making his debut in the Scotland Sevens in 2014. Adendorff remained with the Blitzboks until the end of the 2015 and returned to fifteens with the Boland Cavaliers in 2016. He got a second chance at the Bulls in 2017 and was part of their Super Rugby squad until 2018, when he decided to move to France with Aurillac. He is currently still part of the Aurillac squad.
21 Abrie Griesel
Griesel started the first pool game of the U20 Championship against Ireland and played off the bench in the playoffs against England and New Zealand. He continued to play junior provincial rugby for the Bulls, before moving back to Bloemfontein and getting his first taste of senior rugby with the Cheetahs in 2014. After playing for both the Free State and Griquas, he moved to Ireland in 2016 and made his senior debut for Munster against the Ospreys in November of that year. Griesel returned to South Africa with the Pumas in 2018 and was part of the team that won the Rugby Challenge. Currently, he has returned to farm in Bl0emfontein and start a farming clothes range called BuffelDoorn.
22 Tony Jantjies
The younger brother of Springbok and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, Tony was schooled at Menlopark and signed for the Bulls after high school. Prior to the U20 Championship he played for the Bulls at U19 level. He started the Junior Boks’ tournament opener against Ireland, kicking four penalties and a conversion, but provided backup for Handre Pollard for the rest of the tournament. After the tournament, he continued to play for the Bulls U21 side in 2012 and 2013 and played Vodacom Cup in 2013. He was given an opportunity to get more game time when he joined the Kings in 2015, but that stint ended prematurely as his contract was terminated for a ‘breach in protocol’. Jantjies was handed a lifeline through returning to the Bulls in 2016 and played in the 2016 Currie Cup. His big break came with his first Super Rugby start in 2017. Unfortunately, Janjies never managed to fulfil his potential in Pretoria and moved to Spain in 2018. Currently, he plays for Alcobendas in the top club rugby competition in Spain.
23 Travis Ismaiel
Schooled at Tygerberg, Ismaiel joined the Bulls after high school, playing for the union’s U19s in 2011 and U21s in 2012 and 2013. Ismaiel played for the Junior Springboks in the pool stage win over Italy and was named on the bench for the final against New Zealand. In 2013, the tall wing made his first senior appearance for the Bulls in the Vodacom and Currie Cup. A Super Rugby debut soon followed in 2014 and he became an incredibly consistent member of the Bulls team. Ismaiel got his first taste of senior international rugby when he played for the South Africa A side against the English Saxons in 2016. He would make his Test debut in the Washington DC match against Wales, scoring in his first game. Unfortunately, that would be his only game for the Springboks and he South Africa to join Harlequins in 2019.
24 Marais Schmidt
A rising star, Schmidt captained the Monument 1st XV and Lions U18 side at high school, while he also played for SA Schools. After high school, he joined the Lions and played for their U19 and U21 sides and was named as their U21 Back of the Year after scoring 156 points in 2013. Schmidt was part of the Junior Springbok squad in 2012 and played in the pool stage match against Italy. He missed out on making the bench for the final against New Zealand. After the Championship, he continued to play for the Lions and also played Varsity Cup for UJ, where he studied towards a BCom Law degree. He finished as the second-highest point-scorer in the 2014 Varsity Cup after scoring 43 points. After a handful of appearances for the Lions in the Vodacom Cup, Schmidt had a short stint at Griquas and he finished his career with the Bulls. He currently works as an agent for In Touch Sports.
25 William Small-Smith
A product of the famed Grey College, Small-Smith played for the Free State between U16 and U18 levels, but joined the Bulls after high school. In 2011, he played for the Bulls U19s and for their Vodacom Cup side, before linking up with the Blitzboks at the end of the year. He starred for the Junior Springboks at the U20 Championships but was unfortunately ruled out of the final after suffering a knee injury in the semi-finals. His place in the squad was taken by Dean Hammond. After recovering, he played for UP-Tuks in the 2013, but picked up another injury which ruled him out of the final against Maties. A few appearances in Super Rugby came in 2014, but Small-Smith was allowed returned to Bloemfontein with the Cheetahs in 2016. He as since been an invaluable member of their squad, winning two Currie Cups and helping qualify for the PRO14 playoffs.
26 Pat Howard
Schooled at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal, Howard moved to the Western Cape after finishing his schooling. Howard was excellent for the Junior Springboks until a hamstring injury suffered in the win over England ruled him out for the rest of the tournament. His place was taken by Kobus van Wyk. After the tournament, Howard returned to Western Province and made his Currie Cup debut against the Cheetahs. He continued to play in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup in 20113 and 2014 and then was signed by Munster on a short-term loan as injury cover in December 2014. Howard made his long-awaited Super Rugby debut for the Stormers in 2015 but left them for the Northampton Saints at the end of the season. He spent a year in the Premiership before enjoying his most profitable senior spell with the Dragons. Howard currently plays for the Ealing Trailfinders in the English Championship.
27 Khaya Majola
Majola played for the Junior Springboks in the pool game against Italy and was on the bench against England. After the U20 Championship, the flank went back to the Sharks and played for their U21 side. He made his Currie Cup debut for the Sharks in 2014 and played his first Super Rugby match in 2015. Unfortunately, he struggled to seal a regular place in their match-day squads and was largely limited to playing in the Vodacom Cup, Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup. In 2017, he left the Sharks to join the Kings. He currently plays club rugby for College Rovers.
28 Marvin Orie
Orie was part of the larger squad in the 2012 U20 Championship, but did not make an appearance for the Junior Springboks. After helping UP-Tuks claim the Varsity Cup in 2013, he was set to captain the Junior Boks in the 2013 U20 Championship, but unfortunately was ruled out after breaking his leg during the Varsity Cup final. To his credit, Orie bounced back and has fulfilled the talent he showed as a youngster. With the lock department stacked at the Bulls, Orie decided to move to the Lions and it was in Johannesburg where he settled. He helped the Lions make the Super Rugby final in 2017 and 2018. The latter would be a memorable year for the lock as he made his debut against Wales. After missing out on a place in the Springbok 2019 World Cup squad, Orie joined the Ospreys on loan and made seven appearances in the PRO14. He has since returned to the Lions and has taken his place as a senior member in their Super Rugby squad.
29 Jason Thomas
Thomas appears to have fallen off the rugby radar. The hooker played for the Bulls U21s and then joined the Jersey Reds in the English Championship. However, he was released from the squad in 2014 after failing to play a game for them.
30 Dean Hammond
Hammond, who was part of the U20 squad during their preparations for the U20 Championship missed out on a place in the final squad due a hamstring injury. However, he did come into the squad before the final against New Zealand as an injury replacement for William Small-Smith. While he trained with the team during the buildup to the final, he missed out on a place in the match-day 23 to play against New Zealand. After the Championship, the explosive winger – who had starred for Maties in 2011 and 2012 – linked up with Western Province. In September 2013, Hammond joined the Worcester Academy and made his senior debut for the Worcester Warriors that year against Wasps. He has since played 81 games for the Warriors, scoring 29 tries.
31 Paul Jordaan
Jordaan was part of the Junior Springbok side that finished fifth at the 2011 U20 Championships in Italy and represented the team again in 2012, enjoying a memorable outing against England in the final pool game. 2012 was a good year for the Blitzbok as he made his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks and helped them into the final, winning two away playoffs along the way. He would also play for the Sharks in the Currie Cup final, where they lost to Western Province. Jordaan left the Sharks in 2015 for a fresh challenge with La Rochelle and helped the team into the semi-finals of the Top 14. He played his last game for the French side in 2019 and then negotiated a release from his contract to return to South Africa. He has since stated that he has turned his attention away from rugby to help out at his family’s farm in the Eastern Cape.
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