Who Are The Leading Tighthead Props In South Africa @ 1stXV Level?

Photo by Poppie Terblanche

Bart Schoeman and I analysed most of the available footage of 1stXV games (2020) during the "lockdown" weeks and attempted to identify our top players in each position. 

The Top tighthead props we identified were: 1. Sebastiaan Lombard (Paarl Boishaai), 2. Heiko Pohlmann (Monnas), 3. Phillip Masongo (Wynberg), 4. Byron Marx (Garsfontein), 5. Isaac Khelo (St Albans).

The following boys also caught our attention: Tielman Nieuwoudt (Grey College), Albert Benade (Waterkloof), Shilas Murafa (Milnerton), Friedrich Weilbach (Paul Roos), Bubele Madiba (Hudson Park).

Injured Players or not seen in 2020: Franco Lee Cesar (Welkom Gim), Ronaldo Ismael (Durbanville).

Please keep in mind that we ould only evaluate players of which we had footage available and our selections were based on the performance on that day. Furthermore, we do not claim that we know all and if you disagree you are welcome to contact me (carl@ruggas.co.za) or Bart (bart@sportscon365.com). If you feel that we missed a player please send details of where we can find the videos and/or links of videos. Coaches and parents are more than welcome to discuss the players and evaluation with the match analysis.


Listen to the discussion regarding the tighthead prop at 23:00 in the above RuggasTV episode

Please keep in mind that any technical and positional evaluation of a player must be reinforced by the following aspects for a player to grow in future and especially after school:

1) Strength of character. Any successful sportsman will need to apply himself in honesty, teamwork and full support of the system that he works under.
2) Work ethic and personal application to improve himself, in sport and off the field. He must be ‘coachable’
3) Lifestyle and value-driven. Being a sportsman full time, semi- or full professional, requires a dedicated lifestyle change to reach set goals and to become a better human being.

The Tighthead Prop - The props "prop up" the hooker in the scrum. They form part of the front row of the scrum and push against the opposition's props. The tighthead is to the right of the hooker with his head positioned between the opposition hooker and the opposition loosehead prop. Props have to take in pressure from the locks and loose forwards pushing from behind and the opposition pushing against them, so they are often among the strongest players in a team.

Position-spesific Requirements:

1) Typically, a tighthead prop is around 1.85m (6ft1in) tall. Their large frames need to support the weight of both packs of forwards.
2) They are considered the anchors of the scrum and need considerable bulk to do so. Tight heads scrum in a way that is fundamentally different from the way loose heads do.
3) For them, it is less about technique and angles. And more about grunt and withstanding pressure. It is imperative though that the length of props is in relation to their hooker is often a crucial factor, especially if the hooker is a dominating scrummer.
4) Aggression, as well as high intensity, is expected in everything a tighthead prop does on the field.

Set pieces
1) The tight head must be the best and strongest scrummager in the pack.
2) He is the anchor of this tight phase and no other requirements can hide a weak scrumming tight head.
During lineouts, he needs to be light on his feet to move around to the assigned jumper.
2) He also needs a whole lot of strength to lift the lineout jumpers and have enough strength to bring them back down to ground safely.
3) At lineout mauls, props have the responsibility of protecting the lifted player so that the ball can safely be transferred to the back. Once the maul has formed, props need to drive to get it moving forward before the referee calls for the scrum-half touse it.
1) As a ball carrier, it will also be expected to generate some forward momentum.
2) At ruck time, tighthead props assume the role of thecleaner.His job will be to ensure that possession is always protected by clearing tacklers and other opposition away from the ball.
1) On defence, props have the direct responsibility of preventing their opponents from doing what was described above.
2) A tighthead prop is not expected to make as many tackles as the other forwards, but the intensity of these tackles matter. Props play a game of inches, and if you are driven back in a tackle, you are not doing your job correctly.
3) Tighthead props should enter every tackle situation with the intent that they will dominate and move opposition backwards.
4) As 2nd arrival at rucks the tight head can fulfil a crucial pilfering role to steal and turnover ball

Games watched: Milnerton vs Melkbosstrand, Brackenfell vs Durbanville, Bellville vs Stellenberg, SACS vs Boland Landbou, Wynberg vs Paul Roos, Rondebosch vs Paarl Boishaai, Paarl Gim vs Bishops, Affies vs Helpmekaar, Dale vs Muir, Hudsonpark vs Nico Malan, Queen's vs Pearson, Grey HS vs Brandwag, Kingswood vs Selborne, St Andrew's vs Framesby, Graeme vs Marlow, Gonubie vs Mzzomhle, Chief Boklein vs Aplandale, Queen's vs Stirling, Grens vs Toise, Cambridge vs de Vos Malan, Dale vs Port Rex, Selborne vs Hudson Park, Menlopark vs Ben Vorster. Boishaai vs Monnas, Affies vs Diamantveld, Dale College vs Muir College, Grey College vs Welkom Gim, St Alban's vs Kroonstad AHS, EG Jansen vs Invitation XV, Garsfontein vs Kempton Park, Frikkie Meyer vs Stellenberg, Montana vs Die Anker, Waterkloof vs Outeniqua, Boland Landbou vs Middelburg HTS, Pretoria Boys High vs Paarl Gimnasium.

Next week we will include another 18 games of which we received footage of.