A sleeping giant

Looking at the amount of rugby talent coming out of the Western Cape, it is remarkable to think that neither Western Province nor the Stormers (their guise in Super Rugby) have dominated in their respective tournaments.

With an envious amount of top rugby universities and schools at their beck and call, depth in talent should not be a problem in the Cape.

However, it is the way the province loses its precocious talent that has angered many supporters, especially when the Union only acquired one piece of meaningful piece of silverware in the last 11 years.

Players like JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Hougaard, Johann Sadie and Handré Pollard are just a few that have sought greener pastures with varying degrees of success. They should not be vilified for leaving because it is all part of the modern day game, a game where allegiances have less values these days.

Is Western Province producing so much talent within their Union that they can afford to let a few slip to rival teams? Surely by the bareness of the trophy cabinet over the last decade this is not the case.

This is not to say that they should let the scouts loose in other provinces to supplement their losses, but rather find a sustainable way of keeping ‘the cream of the crop’ at Newlands.

The introduction of the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bellville is one of the main reasons why there is a constant production line of young talent coming out of the Cape and the reason why Western Province have been on an upward curve in terms of performance over the years.

With players like Siyabonga ‘Scarra’ Ntubeni, Eben Etzebeth and Rynhardt Elstad amongst the recent products of the HPC, Western Province is keeping some of the raw talent needed to start a dynasty. They just need to convert it into championships.

Warren Fortune


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