Bishops flyhalf Tim Swiel says he’s relishing the time he’s spending with the Stormers during their Super Rugby pre-season preparations.
The 18-year-old only finished his matric exams recently, but he already has reason to celebrate as he received a call-up to train with the Stormers late last month.
Swiel has enjoyed two impressive 1st XV seasons with Bishops, scoring 509 points to write up a new school record. In 2010, he claimed 305 of those points to finish as South Africa’s top schoolboy scorer. In 2011, he grabbed the most tries for a schoolboy flyhalf (14). More highlights this year include WP U18 Craven Week selection and kicking 11 points in the SA Schools’ 21-14 win over France U18 in PE last August.
Director of coaching Rassie Erasmus is the mastermind behind the surprise call-up after monitoring Swiel’s progress.
‘At the High Performance Centre, one of the WP conditioning coaches Charl Malherbe told me that Rassie wants to me training with the senior squad. And I was more than willing to join the team,’ Swiel told keo.co.za.
‘It’s been mostly gym and conditioning work, which has been really a big step up for me, but I’m really enjoying it. The players have been really welcoming, guys like Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh and my gym partner Demetri Catrakilis, and I’ve learnt a lot from everyone. Coach Allister Coetzee told me to be like a sponge and suck in as much knowledge as I can.’
Coetzee’s earlier comments indicated that the idea was to just give Swiel early experience in the senior structures, but the Stormers coach didn’t rule out a chance for the young flyhalf to work his way into the squad in the near future.
‘Timo still has a long way to go but one can never be too young,’ he told reporters. ‘We will give him an opportunity in the pre-season friendlies to show what he is capable of. We did the same with a youngster like prop Steven Kitshoff last year and he came through.’
TIM SWIEL’S BISHOPS VIDEO PACKAGE:
By Gareth Duncan