Changes made to WP school rugby selection process to improve fairness

Western Province is adopting a new national youth week selection strategy that should improve the fairness of their process quite considerably.


The old setup consisted of 3 regions:

1) Country

2) Central

3) Southern

Each region had 4 zones.

Therefore 12 zones in total.

Lumped together in the Southern region were 4 Premier A League teams: Rondebosch, Wynberg, SACS and Bishops.

The Country contained Premier A League teams Paarl Boys High and Paul Roos.

However the Central region did not too make sense as here Paarl Gymnasium and Boland Landbou were the Premier A League teams.

So the issues with the old system were:

  • far more places were available to the “Winelands-4” schools’ players than those of the Southern Suburbs.
  • the best of the Premier B League players struggled to gain recognition as a result of not being able to make a region team for trials and it was therefore in their best interests to leave the Premier B schools and move to schools where their chances of being selected improved.
  • also considered was why the “Winelands-4” formed part of WP when the were part of Boland for other major sports.


So now Hein Kriek (head coach at Paul Roos) will be in charge of the new process.

In a nutshell, in a short space of a week:

the 8 Premier A League schools have to produce 4 trials teams

The Premier B League schools have to produce 3 trials teams

The lower league schools produce 9 trials teams

All the WP Elite squad members must be included in the 4 Premier League trials teams, which will be challenging as there are about 50 players to consider.

The 4 + 3 + 9 = 16 trials teams play in matches at HS Bellville on 02 May 2015

From there WP picks 3 representative teams to play against 3 Boland teams as part of final trials on 27 May 2015.


  1. Then again, if they are mostly incapable of selecting the best 22 players for CW and the next best 22 players for AW, chances are they will fuck up with the selection of an additional two teams as well. Better players will still not be selected at the expense of school politics and selector/coach agendas and all they will end up achieving is amplifying their uselessness.

  2. @BoishaaiPa: I share your sentiments completely. We know however that the incorporation of a WP CD team will not happen.
    There are so many talented players that are not included in the CW or AW sides. Even if only one extra team (as a start) will be considered it will provide opportunities for another 22 talented players to take part in at least the Academy Week.

    I can understand that there will be additional costs but I’m sure sponsors could be found…….or am I being unrealistic ?

    I think your last paragraph about the administrators is spot on !!

  3. My question is what is the harm in accommodating left over Premier A players in one of the 9 lower teams that attend 02 May trials?

  4. From another reader:

    It seems that the process is slightly better than in the past.

    Of concern:

    Props: 12 . 10 Premier A boys and 2 Premier B boys from Belville. JP Smith and Wickus Groenewald played CW and Salie, Sadie and Smit played AW during 2014. There are also 2 GK representatives of 2014…..7 provincial players in total.
    Locks: 6
    Loosies: 14
    Flyhalves: 4
    Centres: 9

    The point is that there will be so few places available for the rest of the spots in the Premier A sides and schools had to put names forward to WP.

  5. @BoishaaiPa: I also support a 2nd WP team. It makes sense from a quantity and quality point of view. The SARU CEO has just admitted that 60% of schools in the W/Cape play rugby as opposed to 1 in 35 in most other regions as part of a harp on about transformation. Not having a 2nd WP team is a missed opportunity to give more quality PDI players exposure.

    Someone mentioned to me that a possible stumbling block for a second WP Craven Week team and presumable an extra Academy Week and Grant Khomo Week team as well was financing. It would effectively double the WPRU budget.

  6. @Phoenix: Yes Tony kindly offered his article as a post but I went for a summarised version of his article instead.

    With regards to the elite players a reader provided this via email:

    Just a brief comment or two: as you perhaps know there was no real “scientific” method in selecting the WP u / 18 Elite squad. Therefore there are guys in the squad that have not been through a selection process.

    Hopefully someone can assist to answer the rest including your question regarding the Premier B players.

    As far as I know the schools could nominate players. Obviously the provincial players were included but some of the rest of the players will not even feature in their respective schools’ first XV. When selecting those 4 sides the Premier school coaching panel should be very open and honest IMO. The big question is will they be objective?

  7. I have been campaigning for a WP Country Districts team for years now to no avail!..The Winelands big 4 are all keen on this concept but WP rugby is not. EP has a CD team that mainly consists of players from 2 schools in Marlow and St Andrews so the “development” aspect is going for a loop there anyway. The same with Griquas CD team. They regularly get hammered at CW in any case so why not play these teams rather at Academy week and incorporate Marlow and St Andrews back into the EP fold. The WP CD team can consist of all schools in Paarl, Stellenbosch and Strand/Somerset West. More players will get opportunity to play trials and get exposure. Sure, the bulk of the team will most probably come from the big 4, but the opportunity exists for individuals to stake a claim from some smaller school. Boland will still be able to field a very competitive team from all the other schools available in the region. If CW insists on including teams like Border CD, Namibia and Zimbabwe as well I see no future for development. What do those boys learn from that week?…How to tackle and stand behind your own goalposts?. Why do we need to develop our neighbor’s rugby in our own prestige national tournament at the cost of our own players?..In that case I would also rather see an extra team from central provinces/Freestate as Grey takes up most of the places in the OVS team and maybe another team from Gauteng for all the schools they have up there.

    I really think that amateur rugby administrators do not have the vision or the knowhow to even start unearthing new talent in this country. They keep on doing the same things wrong and getting the same results. Time for a drastic re-think and change.

  8. @BuiteBreek: Sadly a big Prem B school, even on a good Saturday, will struggle to scrape 13 or 14 teams together. Despite serious efforts, many protestations to the contrary and promises you will usually end up having max 10 or 11 games. And even if successful for a period of a year or two, I have serious doubts about sustained financing and participation to keep the number of teams at or above 14, which is the requirement for Prem A status.

  9. The solution would definitely be 3 WP Stadsjapie teams comprising players from the Nothern and Southern Suburbs schools and 3 WP Plaasjapie teams made up of players from the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Helderberg schools. Fact is the WP Union will not fork out the money for 3 extra teams, despite the large player pool in the region and, as Beet mentioned to me earlier today, the obvious opportunity for transformation and development. No balls or capability when it comes to WP junior rugby, as usual.

  10. @Tang: Logistics is the easy answer. Because these four schools can easily push 20 odd teams in the field, it is difficult to find schools that can accommodate them on game day. For example Paarl Gim plays Porterville. Gim has 3 teams in each of the juniors (u/14; u/15 and u/16) and maybe 8 teams in the open ages (u/19). That gives you a total of 17 teams. Porterville has two in each of in the juniors and maybe 3 or four in the open ages. That’s 9 or 10 teams.

    What does Gim do with the other 8 teams that also has to play? They can’t go to another school for those, because they might have a fixture later in he season. They can’t split the teams, because as in many cases, parents might have boys in more than one age or in the both sides, that are split up for game time.

    The Northern and Southern Suburbs can provide teams for all the sides that both schools have.

    And the same goes for Netball and Hockey.

    Travel for that amount of kids can also be a bugger. (Boland is a very large province in terms of travel distance. All the way from Calvinia in the north to Hermanus and Bredasdorp in the south and Laingsburg in the east.)
    I think it might be easier and cheaper for a smallish school to move 150 rugby players compared to 300, and if you add the Netball and Hockey, it might be a nightmare.

    I think the last time the Winelands schools played for Boland was back in 2001. And I dont think many of the “old” Boland schools had many representatives in that Craven Week side.

    Might be better for the Winelands 4 and maybe some of the other schools in Paarl, Stellenbosch and maybe Strand to start their own union, and have fixtures both sides of the mountain. There has been talk about it, but nothing has come from it. Maybe in the future.

  11. @ Beet-There is a article on Stoopstats on this but u covered the basics.What is not clear cut is 1)Do the elite squad member gain automatic enty into the last 4 teams or do they also have to play for their spot/If they are automatically in then there is space for maybe 10 boys.So what is the purpose anyway if it looks like a smoke screen.2)Why do the elite squad members from the second tier play in the winelands teams if they can make up part of the 3 2nd tier teams.
    Maybe to boost their teir chances?
    What chance does the rest of the boys in the premier A division have or are the sufficiently represented.

    True though its an age old fight of who to represent with no awnser in sight.

  12. @Beet – No wonder WP win Craven Week so regularly.
    I reckon the Lions, Valke and Bulls would should take the same approach since they are all closer to each other than Paarl is to Cape Town.

    This is still the biggest laughing point in school boy sport and none of the above resolutions address the question – Why the winelands four form part of WP.


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