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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal Rugby: Ayron Schramm- Remember The Name
Monday, 30 September 2013 10:28

Rugby: Ayron Schramm- Remember The Name

Written by  Bryce Foss

In 2004, a 75kg loose-forward arrived at the Sharks Academy on his own accord. There was no junior contract or buzz surrounding his schoolboy exploits. Provinces weren’t clamoring for his signature and bloggers weren’t predicting a professional career before his nineteenth birthday. He was told that he was too small; that he should give scrumhalf a go and that his size would be a hindrance to him pursuing a professional career. His name was Keegan Daniel.

 

Fast-forward to 2013 and there is a fresh signing headed for the Shark Tank. He too is an eighth man; a hybrid of enforcer, carrier, lineout option and distributor. Already tipping the scales at over 100kg, it’s likely that through expert conditioning and the natural growth brought about through physical maturity, Ayron Schramm will be in the region of between 105-110kg’s by the age of twenty and he will no doubt be perceived to be yet another battering ram, willing to put his body on the line for the cause. Whilst this no doubt rings true, by delving deeper into his individual development, it’s clear that he has all the attributes to become the all-rounder that South Africa has been longing for, since the retirement of the incredibly unappreciated Bob Skinstad (who ironically attended the same Prep school as Ayron and played in the same position).

Having played centre until under sixteen, Ayron possesses the intellectual maturity required to make the most effective and calculated decision of running at a gap (rather than bulldozing his opponent), creating space and offloading through the tackle to a grateful teammate who more than likely canters in for a touchdown as Schramm receives attention from multiple defenders. It’s the way of the future; a Rugby League-inspired athlete that is as adept at pillaging the ball as he is distributing it. It slaps traditional notions in the face and takes an about turn from conventional and conservative South African perceptions of the allocated roles on a rugby field.    

As a scholar of Kearsney College, Schramm is not only blessed with an educational of the highest order, but a rugby program that has actively pursued the virtue of ‘playing the situation’ and embracing fifteen-man rugby within a composed structure. Headed by Director of Rugby and KZN Craven Week Coach, Barend Steyn; 2013 has already been a year that will go down in annuls of the College as arguably its greatest rugby season in its illustrious history. With a solitary loss to top-ranked Paarl Gimnasium at the time of printing, the boys from Botha’s Hill have amassed victories against St Stithians, DHS, St. Charles, Glenwood, Northwood, Michaelhouse, Boland Landbou and Framesby; making a habit of posting in excess of fifty points. They’re a squad that possesses the belief that they can win any fixture they undertake and have the confidence to move the ball around the park with width and a knowledge that sitting in the second XV are a number of players who could quite easily run on for most school first teams in the province.      

With his father (and capped Transvaal Hooker) Georg playing an integral role in his development as a coach at the Hillcrest Villagers Mini-Rugby Club, it came as no surprise that Ayron was a standout performer for Highbury in Prep school and refreshingly, Georg has always let his son take enjoyment out of the game, rather than pile on the ‘make or break’ parental pressure that is so often the undoing of some of the top age-group talent in any given sport. This has no doubt been a contributing factor to the fluid and selfless manner in which Ayron plays the game; always looking for the best option; playing without inhibition and using his head as much as his heart.    

Having dominated some of the finest schoolboys in the country whilst in the backline, second row and back row, it comes as no surprise that Schramm was one of the standout performers for the KZN Schools Sevens team in 2012 at the now hallowed LC de Villiers Stadium at the University of Pretoria. It was yet another box ticked for the then Grade Eleven student; to go along with his appearances for KZN at u13 Craven Week, Grant Khomo Week, Academy Week and now a well-earned berth in the Craven Week squad.

Habitually reputed to punch below their weight at most Craven Weeks, the KZN squad of 2012 taught a talented Free State outfit a lesson and has been rewarded with the daunting task of facing the Blue Bulls on Day One of this year’s showpiece. Except, this prospect is not as daunting as it once was. With the likes of Glenwood, Maritzburg College and Kearsney routinely challenging the best in the country; the days of Natalians being overawed at age-group level is a thing of the past.

Granted, it will take a special effort to beat a combined squad comprising the likes of Affies, Waterkloof and Garsfontein; but with KZN possessing combinations in their selection, cohesion will not be an issue by any means and when one considers that Schramm has made a habit of disrupting opposition ball in the lineout, it’s clear that KZN will not roll over in the set phases.

As for what 2014 holds for Ayron Schramm; he’ll be taking up a junior contract with the Sharks, along with Kearsney teammates Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez, but given their outstanding record this season; the Sharks could do worse than to add a few more one-stripe mainstays to the mix.

Does schoolboy success guarantee professional accomplishment? Definitely not. Are South Africans quick on the draw when embellishing the potential of teenage athletes? Uncomfortably so. What is beyond doubt however is that the Upper Highway of Durban has produced a balanced, intelligent and humble rugby player with the skill set to rival that of Australasia’s finest and in a country obsessed with brute strength and route-one rugby, his arrival on the national stage is most certainly a welcome one.  

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