Eddie Jones attempts to lure South African prodigy to England

Eddie Jones attempts to lure South African prodigy to England

Eddie Jones is planning a swoop for one of South Africa’s most highly-rated youngsters Sacha Mngomezulu.


The Stormers and South African u20s star holds an English passport and could represent both England and South Africa at test level. 


Ultimate Rugby has learnt that the youngster’s rapid rise with the Stormers and Junior Boks has grabbed the attention of Eddie Jones, who has phoned Mngomezulu to discuss his availability. 


Mngomezulu was touted for a bright future during his schoolboy years and delivered on the hype in his first Stormers appearance. He was thrown in at the deep end of the United Rugby Championship playoffs debuting as an injury replacement in the quarter-final win against Edinburgh Rugby, where he played 70 minutes.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 04: Sacha Mngomezulu of the Stormers tackled by Chris Dean of Edinburgh during the United Rugby Championship match between DHL Stormers and Edinburgh at DHL Stadium on June 04, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Interest from Jones could speed up the Springboks’ plans for Mngomezulu and lead to him making his test debut for South Africa this November, to avoid one of the most promising talents in recent years slipping through their grasps.


South Africa face Ireland, France, Italy and England this November and may look to cap the 20-year-old while on tour. 


The South Africa XV team has midweek games against Munster and the Bristol Bears. Mngomezulu’s u20 coach Bafana Nhleko will be involved in coaching the side as an assistant, with Rassie Erasmus overseeing the coaching staff, which does work in South Africa’s favour.


Another challenge for Jones would be that he would need to clear Mngomezulu with the RFU board as special dispensation for selection, or he would need a Premiership club to sign him. 


The strain on the Premiership budgets means this would be particularly difficult, while Worcester Warriors players being free agents has made the situation even more difficult.


It wouldn’t be the first time that Jones capped a young star from another country, having handed Clyde Rathbone his test debut for Australia back in 2004. 


Back then, there was a lot of speculation about whether Rathbone would play for Australia or South Africa, having qualified for the former by having an Australia-born paternal grandmother.



After debuting in the URC quarter-final, Mngomezulu featured off the bench against Ulster in the semi-final and the Bulls in the final, claiming his first professional title.


He was appointed Junior Springbok captain for the U20 Summer Series campaign in Italy. He scored 36 points in the four games as South Africa defeated England, Ireland, France and Wales to win the competition. 

Sacha Mngomezulu (C) (South Africa) during the Rugby Six Nations match 2022 U20 6 Nations Summer Series - South Africa vs Wales on July 12, 2022 at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy (Photo by Mattia Radoni/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“To me, he is a clone of Damian Willemse.” Stormers coach John Dobson said when asked about Mngomezulu.


“That’s in terms of his professionalism, his mentality, his physicality and his offloading skillset.” 


Like Willemse, Mngomezulu played schoolboy rugby at flyhalf while he has started his career at the Stormers playing inside centre whilst also being comfortable at fullback. 


He made his first start for the Stormers last weekend, at inside centre, and rose to the challenge scoring a remarkable 22 points. That is the highest tally a Stormers player has scored in one match since Cheslin Kolbe in 2017, while he also slotted all seven of his place kicks. He even scored and assisted a try in the 20-37 win. 


In an interview with Rugby World, he stated that after singing the anthem for the South African U18 sevens team, he knew it’d always be South Africa. Can Eddie Jones persuade the youngster?


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