Tango Balekile

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Tango Balekile
Date of birth (1996-03-07) 7 March 1996 (age 22)
Place of birth East London, South Africa
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Weight 100 kg (220 lb)
School Selborne College
University Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Hooker
Current team Southern Kings / Eastern Province Elephants
Youth Career
2012–2014 Border Bulldogs
2015–2017 Eastern Province Kings
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016 NMMU Madibaz 3 (0)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016–present Eastern Province Elephants 13 (15)
2017–present Southern Kings 9 (0)
Correct as of 27 October 2018
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016 South Africa Under-20 5 (0)
Correct as of 23 April 2018

Tango Balekile (born 7 March 1996) is a South African rugby union player for the Southern Kings in the Pro14 and the Eastern Province Elephants in the Currie Cup and in the Rugby Challenge.[1] His regular position is hooker.

Rugby career

2012–14: Schools rugby

Balekile was born in East London and also grew up there, attending Selborne College. He captained and played rugby for them which resulted in a number or provincial call-ups to represent the Border Rugby Union at various tournaments. In 2012 he played for their Under-16 team at the Grant Khomo Week held in Johannesburg, in 2013 he played for their Under-18 team at the Academy Week held at Glenwood High School in Durban and in 2014, he captained and played for their Craven Week team at the tournament held in Middelburg.

2015: Eastern Province Under-19

Prior to the 2015 season, Balekile moved to Port Elizabeth to join the Eastern Province Kings academy. He was included in the Eastern Province U19 squad that competed in Group A of the 2015 Under-19 Provincial Championship.[2] He played off the bench in their first two matches of the season and scored a try for the team in the second of those, a 41–24 win over Leopards U19.[3] After starting against Western Province U19[4] and appearing as a replacement against Blue Bulls U19,[5] he then firmly established himself as their first-choice hooker, starting their remaining eight matches during the regular season. Eastern Province won eleven of their twelve matches to finish top of the log and to qualify for a home semi-final.[6] Balekile started their 31–15 victory over Free State U19 in the semi-final[7] and the final, in which his side beat the Blue Bulls 25–23[8] in Johannesburg to win the competition for the first time in their history.[9]

2016: Eastern Province Kings, NMMU Madibaz and South Africa Under-20

At the start of 2016, Balekile played rugby for university side NMMU Madibaz in the Varsity Cup competition. He started one match, a 25–27 home defeat to Maties,[10] and came on as a replacement in two other matches as NMMU finished second-last on the log.[11]

In March 2016, he was included in a South Africa Under-20 training squad,[12] also making the cut for a reduced provisional squad named a week later.[13] In between training with the team, he returned to the Eastern Province Kings to make a single appearance for them in the 2016 Currie Cup qualification series, making his first class debut in a 14–28 loss to Eastern Cape rivals the Border Bulldogs.[14] On 10 May 2016, he was included in the final South Africa Under-20 squad for the 2016 World Rugby Under 20 Championship tournament to be held in Manchester, England.[15] He started their opening match in Pool C of the tournament as South Africa came from behind to beat Japan 59–19,[16] and also started their next pool match as South Africa were beaten 13–19 by Argentina.[17] He dropped to the bench for their final pool match, coming on shortly after half-time as South Africa bounced back to secure a 40-31 bonus-point victory over France[18] to secure a semi-final place as the best runner-up in the competition. He was restored to the starting line-up for the semi-final, as South Africa faced three-time champions England. The hosts proving too strong for South Africa, knocking them out of the competition with a 39–17 victory.[19] Balekile was again named on the bench against Argentina for the third-place play-off match, again coming on just after half-time as Argentina beat South Africa – as they did in the pool stages – convincingly winning 49–19[20] and in the process condemning South Africa to fourth place in the competition.

References

  1. ^ "SA Rugby Player Profile – Tango Balekile". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  2. ^ "SA Rugby Squad – Eastern Province U19 : 2015 Absa Under 19 Competition". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  3. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Leopards U19 24-41 Eastern Province U19". South African Rugby Union. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  4. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Eastern Province U19 13-10 Western Province U19". South African Rugby Union. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Eastern Province U19 24-15 Blue Bulls U19". South African Rugby Union. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ "SA Rugby Log – 2015 Absa Under 19 Competition". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  7. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Eastern Province U19 31-15 Free State U19". South African Rugby Union. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  8. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Eastern Province U19 25-23 Blue Bulls U19". South African Rugby Union. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  9. ^ "WP young guns, EP clinch junior titles". South African Rugby Union. 25 October 2015. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  10. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – FNB NMMU MADIBAZ 25-27 FNB MATIES". South African Rugby Union. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  11. ^ "SA Rugby Log – 2016 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Large group invited to Junior Springbok trials camp". South African Rugby Union. 24 March 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Theron names provisional Junior Springbok squad". South African Rugby Union. 1 April 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  14. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – EP Kings 14-28 Border". South African Rugby Union. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Ward to lead Junior Springboks in England". South African Rugby Union. 10 May 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  16. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa U20 59-19 Japan U20". South African Rugby Union. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  17. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa U20 13-19 Argentina U20". South African Rugby Union. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  18. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa U20 40-31 France U20". South African Rugby Union. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  19. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – England U20 39-17 South Africa U20". South African Rugby Union. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  20. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Argentina U20 49-19 South Africa U20". South African Rugby Union. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
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