The future of South African rugby could be on display on Saturday, when two contrasting 20-year-olds, Hacjivah Dayimani and Juarno Augustus, go head-to-head as their respective Currie Cup teams look to take a step closer to achieving a home semifinal.
Augustus has been destined for great things since he made his presence felt at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2017, and he is kicking on at Western Province, while the Golden Lions’ Dayimani has set the Currie Cup alight in 2018.
There is no doubt that Augustsus, is the more brutish ball carrier and tackler of the two. Weighing in at well over 100kg, he has proven to be a handful for defending teams in close quarters.
And comparisons between Augustus and former Stormers number eight Duane Vermuelen are not lost on current Western Province coach John Dobson.
“If you’re looking at a Duane Vermeulen and what Augustus brings, they’re similar,” Dobson said recently in announcing his team to play the Pumas in round three.
The Tygerberg High School product used his strength to score seven tries for the Junior Springboks during their 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship campaign, when he finished the tournament as the top try scorer.
He has already showcased that strength during this year’s Currie Cup campaign when he carried defenders over the try line to score against Free State Cheetahs in torrential rain at Newlands.
In his team’s only other match of the campaign so far, he didn’t get on the scoresheet but helped to lay the platform for the backs to run riot in Nelspruit on their way to a big win over the Pumas.
“He’s got the world at his feet,” Dobson said of Augustus.
“I think he’s got a massive future… he’s special.”
While Augustus plays in the mould of former Stormers and Western Province number eight Vermuelen, Dayimani can be likened to Lions and former Springboks captain Warren Whiteley.
A lankier player, like Whiteley, Dayimani has displayed his set of skills for all to see on his way to five tries in just three matches in this year’s Currie Cup. He’s among the standout players in the competition this season.
While the Lions back-rower is the same height as his opposite number this weekend (1.88m), he is significantly lighter and tips the scales at a little under 100kgs.
What Dayimani lacks in weight, he makes up for — and then some — with his speed; he clocked 10.70sec and 21sec for the 100m and 200m respectively during his time at Jeppe Boys High, times that prompted the Sharks to try to sign him as a winger.
That blistering pace was especially evident against the Blue Bulls in round three of the Currie Cup, when he beat winger Duncan Matthews on the outside and then sliced through the defensive line to score two crucial tries to earn his team maximum points at Loftus.
Dayimani welcomes comparisons between himself and Whiteley, and he said recently that he had learned a lot from, and looks up to, the Springboks loose forward.
He also knows and understands what he needs to do in the Currie Cup if he is to follow further in Whiteley’s footsteps.
“Every guy is trying to show the Super Rugby coaches what they can do,” Dayimani told SuperSport. “What I have to do, is play chess, show where the space is, find loopholes in the system and exploit that.
“Previously what I did was try to play a game that wasn’t mine. Try to be physical, try to be everywhere, but I thought let me just stick to my strengths, stay out wide and take on the backs and exploit the space specifically. I think that is where I am good at and that is where I will stay.”
The battle between Dayimani and Augustus could be key as the Lions and Western Province each bid to maintain their unbeaten start to the Currie Cup season in what is undoubtedly the biggest game of round five.
Both sides have picked up bonus points in all of their victories, and they have the two highest points differences in the competition, with the Lions on + 57 after four games and Western Province on + 61 after two fixtures.
With both teams at the top of their game, what could separate them come match day?
Could it be Augustus’ power, or Dayimani’s pace that gets their team over the line?
Currie Cup Round 5: Line-Ups
Friday, Sep. 14
Blue Bulls vs. Pumas
Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Jade Stighling, Jonny Kotze, Franco Naude, Duncan Matthews, Manie Libbok, Ivan van Zyl, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Nic de Jager, Ruan Steenkamp, Eli Snyman, Hendré Stassen, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jaco Visagie, Matthys Basson. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Conrad van Vuuren, Ruan Nortje, Jano Venter, André Warner, Tinus de Beer, Dylan Sage.
Pumas: Devon Williams, Morné Joubert, Neil Maritz, Ryan Nell, Ruwellyn Isbel, Christopher Smith, Stefan Ungerer, Willie Engelbrecht, Stefan Willemse, Marnus Schoeman, Hugo Kloppers (captain ), Le Roux Roets, Andrew Beerwinkel, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Khwezi Mona. Replacements: Simon Westraadt, De-Jay Terblanche, Hilton Lobberts, Francois Kleinhans, Abrie Griesel, Kobus Marais, Henko Marais. Saturday, Sep. 15
Golden Lions vs. Western Province
Golden Lions: Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Shaun Reynolds, Dillon Smit, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, James Venter, Marvin Orie (captain), Rhyno Herbst, Jacobie Adriaanse, Corné Fourie, Sti Sithole. Replacements: Pieter Jansen, Johannes Jonker, Reinhard Nortnagel, Driaan Bester, Nic Groom, Gianni Lombard, Wandisile Simelane.
Western Province: Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Dan Kriel, SP Marais, Josh Stander, Jano Vermaak, Juarno Augustus, Ernst van Rhyn, Kobus van Dyk, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl (captain), Michael Kumbirai, Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak. Replacements: Chad Solomon, Caylib Oosthuizen, Carlu Sadie, Salmaan Moerat, Chris Massyn, Paul de Wet, Dan du Plessis.
Griquas vs. Free State Cheetahs
Griquas: AJ Coertzen, Ederies Arendse, Kyle Steyn (captain), Andre Swarts, Enver Brandt, George Whitehead, Christiaan Meyer, Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, Sias Koen, Eital Bredenkamp, Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Wandile Putuma, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Wilmar Arnoldi, Liam Hendricks. Replacements: AJ le Roux, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, FP Pelser, Wendal Wehr, Zak Burger, Stephan Janse van Rensburg, Christopher Bosch.
Free State Cheetahs: Adriaan Carelse, Ali Mgijima, Carel-Jan Coetzee, Tersius Kruger, Vuyani Maqina, Ernst Stapelberg, Rudy Paige (captain), Stephan Malan, Abongile Nonkontwana, Daniel Maartens, Dennis Visser, Louis Conradie, Gunther Janse van Vuuren, Reinach Venter, Johan Kotze. Replacements: Kevin Stevens, Jannes Snyman, Stefan van Schalkwyk, Nardus Erasmus, Luigy van Jaarsveld, Dian Badenhorst, Ryno Eksteen.