South Africa’s schoolboy rugby could lay claim to being the strongest in the world, but the ultra-competitive nature of the system has brought it with problems of its own.
For one, schoolboy doping still rears its head from time to time, but it is the poaching of players that consistently causes animosity between some of the top teams.
Last year, two Southern Suburbs schools accused Paarl Boys’ of poaching players from under their noses, and now two of KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest rivals have cancelled their fixtures over a similar row.
…Durban High School (DHS) cancelled all sporting events with its main rival Glenwood High School over allegations of player and coaching poaching.
The severing of ties between the two school also means that Durban’s oldest schoolboy rugby rivalry – a fixture on many rugby fans’ calendar and an event which first took place in 1925 – will not go ahead.
There are several allegations, while not confirmed by either school, that Glenwood poached several talented sportsmen from DHS this year.
Things have to be serious if you suspend a fixture that is almost 100 years old, and Paul Spooner, the chairman of Durban High School Governing Body, says it wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly.
Dr Andri Barnes, the headmistress of Glenwood High School, expressed her disappointment at DHS for the cancellation, saying her school “abides by the protocols established by the state boys’ high school with regard to admission, pupil transfers and teacher recruitment”.
I’m sure both sides believe they are in the right, but it is worth noting that Glenwood has been accused of similar conduct in the past:
In 2013, Westville Boys’ High, suspended top-level sport after a disagreement over a rugby player who Glenwood imported from Pretoria’s Waterkloof High School in 2011. They were joined by Durban High School who also refused to play against them that year after accusations that Glenwood poached a cricket player from them.
In 2014, Hilton College said it could no longer play Glenwood High School as Glenwood’s rugby was “too professional”.
When you consider how many rugby players are signed up straight out high school, many by overseas clubs (that’s just part of our overseas exodus problem), it’s not hard to see why it has become so competitive.
At the end of the day (avoid saying that in Naas Botha’s voice if possible), it’s just sad that such a long-running fixture won’t take place, and it’s the players who look forward to this clash that suffer the most.
[imagesource: Getty] In 1920, America's Prohibition began, not only putting the squeeze...
[imagesource: Getty Images] Health and energy drinks don't always go hand in hand. I...
[imagesource: Barry Christianson] After being declared the COVID-19 epicentre in May, r...
When authorities began a days-long search on a plot of land near Hanover, Germany, it was ...
[imagesource: Win McNamee/Getty Images] Let's keep this one short, much like Donald Tru...