Top rugby schools push and shove in poaching rumpus

12 January 2019 - 09:23 By Dave Chambers
A Paarl Boys' High rugby player in action.
A Paarl Boys' High rugby player in action.
Image: Paarl Boys' High

Two of the country’s leading rugby schools will not play each other after a row over a Grade 9 boy who moved from one to the other.

Wynberg Boys’ High, which was ranked 21st in the country in 2018 by SA School Sports, has cut ties with Paarl Boys’ High, which was ranked 8th, SA Rugby Mag reported.

It said the decision followed the transfer to Paarl of a Grade 9 boy who had a scholarship at Wynberg in contravention of an agreement signed by most traditional boys’ schools countrywide.

The memorandum of understanding says schools should not poach from each other, and applications to change schools should be discussed in advance between the principals of affected institutions.

Matthew Doyle of Wynberg Boys' High during the WP Schools U19A match against Bishops in August 2017.
Matthew Doyle of Wynberg Boys' High during the WP Schools U19A match against Bishops in August 2017.
Image: Gallo Images/Peter Heeger
Wynberg Boys' High headmaster Jan de Waal
Wynberg Boys' High headmaster Jan de Waal
Image: wbhs.org.za

Wynberg headmaster Jan de Waal told SARugbymag.co.za he objected to the way the transfer took place, and the lack of communication by Paarl Boys.

A statement from the Paarl school said it was saddened that Wynberg had cut ties. “We are even more saddened with Wynberg declining to meet with Paarl Boys’ High at their premises,” it said.

“As the learner’s father stated in his letters to both principals, ‘Our son approached us with a request to move to Paarl Boys’ High. After many house meetings we decided as a family to move to Paarl.

“ ‘We contacted Paarl Boys’ High, where the headmaster laid down very strict conditions which included contacting Wynberg’s headmaster immediately; that there were no opportunity for scholarship.’ ”

The school statement said it has worked hard to set high standards, “so we do understand if learners and their parents consider us as an option for their studies”.

It added: “As we also often lose talent to neighbouring and competing schools, we do understand the emotion behind this.”

Commenting on SA Rugby Mag’s report, Steve Munckton said: “It’s Wynberg’s loss. They were never a match for Paarl Boys’ High on the field. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a school that has such a high standard in rugby?

“It should be the boy’s choice. Schools should stop using boys as pawns in their proverbial chess games.”

Brent Saunders commented: “It would seem that Wynberg Boys has taken a stand. Will the other traditional schools who are signatories to the memorandum also sever ties or will they pretend it’s not a matter which affects them?”


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