The Free State have named their provisional team for the 2018 Craven Week which will be played in Paarl.
The team will be heading to the tournament in the Western Cape with five players who played for the team last year, and they are the prop Herman Aggenbag, the scrumhalf Ross Braude, the lock Ofentse Maphuti, the flanker De Wet Marais, and the exciting centre, Wyclef Vlitoor.
As it stands the selectors have named 24 members in the squad and it they have to trim the team to travel by one player. This leaves them with somewhat of a headache, and it will come down to the fitness of Marais. This could leave either the Grey College captain WJ Steenkamp or the lock George Cronjé as the unlucky lad.
As is the norm, Grey, boast with the biggest contingent of players in the squad, and as it stands, they have 15 players in the team.
Louis Botha, who are the second best team in the City of Roses, has seven members in the squad.
Albert Annandale of Hoërskool Sentraal, and Delano Williams of Hoërskool Jim Fouché also made the cut.
Two players in the team have dad you players for the Free State as well as the Springboks, they are the centre, Franco Smith Jr, as well as, the hooker, André-Hugo Venter, who is the son of the legendary flanker, André Venter. Smith’s dad is of course the for Bok assistant and soon to be new head coach of the Toyota Cheetahs for a second stint.
The former Free State captain, Joe Beukes, also sees his son, Danwch Beukes, in the side, and he will be playing in the second-row.
The winger, Ian-Small Smith, is the brother of the current Cheetahs utility back, William, who in his turn captain the SA Schools team, as well as, had a leadership role when the Junior Springboks won the 2012 IRB Junior World Championships in Cape Town.
Small-Smith, as well as, the centre Vlitoor, are real contenders to be representing the South African Schools team in August.
The 2018 Craven Week will form part of Paarl Boys’ High School’s 150th anniversary and will be played between 9 and 14 July.
Provisional Free State team – 15 Richard Kriel (Grey), 14 Brandon-Lee Adams (Louis Botha), 13 Wyclef Vlitoor (Grey), 12 Franco Smith (Grey), 11 Ian Small-Smith (Grey), 10 Zander du Plessis (Grey), 9 Ross Braude (Grey), 8 Werner Gouws (Grey), 7 WJ Steenkamp (Grey), 6 Samkele Mzayiya (Louis Botha), 5 Danwich Beukes (Grey), 4 Ofentse Maphuti (Louis Botha), 3 Albert Annandale (Sentraal), 2 André-Hugo Venter (Grey), 1 Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Grey).
Replacements – 16 Francois Boonzaaier (Louis Botha), 17 Lihle Lokwane (Louis Botha), 18 Herman Aggenbag (Grey), 19 Nhlanhla Senoamadi (Louis Botha), 20 De Wet Marais (Grey), 21 Delano Williams (Jim Fouché), 22 Jade Human (Grey), 23 Lehlonolo Lithabe (Louis Botha), 24 George Cronjé. – MORGAN PIEK