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Friday Sep 19, 2014

The Top 5 Schoolboy Prodigies, then and now

Schoolboy rugby regularly produces hugely entertaining clashes, as well as youngsters that make a name for themselves early on. There have been some great talents that first get noticed when they are just teenagers, so here’s a look at just five of them.

Sean Maloney trawled through footage of some of today’s biggest stars, coming up with a Top 5 that include players who have gone on to be stars at the highest level.

Johan Goosen of South Africa famously kicked a huge penalty when still at junior level. It wasn’t that long ago, and the video went viral at the time as it was quite hard to believe. Since then he’s played for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, and been capped by the Springboks.

Injury problems have hampered his chances of being a regular fixture, so for now he’s plying his trade where another big-booted Freestate boy played for a while, with Racing Metro in France.

Manu Tuilagi’s story is well known. The Samoan with famous rugby playing brothers, he’s the youngest son and also the only to have played for another country, England. He visited the UK, stayed, and went on to become a beast of a player at schoolboy level. Higher honours followed and today he remains one of England’s most lethal attacking weapons.

A mesmeric talent who could turn on a sixpence, Kurtley Beale’s path is also fairly well known. He was an absolute stand out at St Joseph College, playing 1st XV from a young age after arriving there with his brother on an indigenous scholarship.

He was a Waratah when he was still a teenager, and despite some way too public troubles, Beale has gone on to represent the Wallabies 46 times. And he’s still just 25 years old.

The Ella Brothers, Mark, Glenn and Gary, are probably lesser known for younger fans, but at their peak were a dominant force for Matraville High, Randwick Rugby Club and later, the Wallabies. They loved free flowing rugby, and delighted fans with their sublime skills for many years.

All Black Julian Savea, the latest of a long line of massive New Zealand wingers, has cemented his place in the World Champion side not only through prolific try-scoring, but clearly due to the way that he has worked on his game.

As a schoolboy he was untouchable, as he was at U20 level, but at times his hands left him down. He’s put a lot of work into that since, and it shows, with him now looking very solid under the high ball. That’s usually followed by a big thigh to the face of a would-be tackler.

There are other players that could have been included in this compilation but it’s a Top 5 so these are the picks of the guys at Rugby HQ, who say that to make the video the player had to represent their country. Also, Jonah Lomu isn’t included because he’s been in many other Top 5’s already.

Who else could be on this list? Feel free to discuss and share links in the comments below. It’s best to Register your account to comment, or Login here.

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