EP Craven Week official might land in hot water

Eastern Province High Schools Rugby Chairman Willem October might have to face the music over a replacement player selection decision he made which appears to go against a written instruction by Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson.

The issue began long before Craven Week when first choice centre Josiah Twum Boafo was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury. His replacement was meant to be fellow Grey High School centre Ayanda Oliphant. October however picked Daniel Pienaar flyhalf Denver Klue instead.

The letter to October by Cheeky Watson clearly stated that Oliphant and not Klue was the official replacement.
Before their tour bus departed for Stellenbosch, the Eastern Province team had to wait around for a few hours while the matter was debated. Eventually both players boarded the bus with the rest of the team and travelled to the Western Cape. Once there EP tried to in vain to register 23 players in spite of the Craven Week rules only allowed for 22 players per team. As a result of this request being denied, October then registered Klue as EP’s 22nd and final player, leaving Oliphant out in the cold.

The controversial matter had a happier but not completely satisfactory ending when Oliphant was drafted into the squad as a replacement for flank Malan Marais who was injured during the first game. As a result both Oliphant and Klue participated at Craven Week, where EP overachieved by reaching the final.

All that is left now is determining the reason behind October’s insistence on selecting Klue and whether or not October’s action amounted to insubordination.

EPRU letter:

Craven Week 2015 Player Replacement-page-001

Article by the HeraldLive.co.za:


  1. Not the first time the Watson family has interfered with a representative team coach’s selections……… :roll:

  2. The involvement of Rugby Unions in the youth week setup is a good topic for discussion so definitely interesting that SARU say the RU President has to sign off the team.

    In this case above it looks like Watson is merely making it clear that the complaint bought by Grey High is valid. Their student was the player selected to replace the injured player. October appears to be the one who has acted without proper authority and one has to wonder why he was so insistent on taking this flyhalf who was not first in the pecking order when the team were looking to replace a centre. So insistent that he appears to have defied an instruction by the President who was granted authority by SARU.

  3. @beet: Unfortunately, there is very little recourse against schools. While (in most instances) the schools sit on the Union Executive, they are a law unto themselves. Disciplinary issues (cards etc) are handled by the school involved (or mostly not at all) and when directives do come from SARU, they are often ignored.

    Simple things get ignored (such as Boksmart rules – how many B fields do you see roped off on a Saturday, school boys running on as medics etc). My opinion – if you want to be part of the structure, adhere to the rules!

    Cheeky Watson may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he has the ultimate say (as would Graham Mackenzie or any other President).

  4. Interesting that here on SBR – we have one article (this one in EP) where the Union have really gotten involved boots and all – and another (KZN Parents and blazers) where the union has put their hands up and deflected it to the High Schools.

    I agree RugbyDad that some of the schools do tend to underplay cards or other requirements of Boksmart etc. – but I’m also pleased to see many of the schools doing well in keeping players off or dropping them bad behaviour. I do agree that boys/kit on playing enclosures needs to be improved (personal bug bear).

  5. “Olifant” and then “Oliphant”. I suppose the least one can expect of a union president is to spell the player’s name correctly in an official letter!


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