Waterkloof is challenging a decision made by the Noordvaal Skolerugby-vereniging (NVSRV, Noordvaal School Rugby Union) instructing them to play Garsfontein (who they do not want to play)by 30 June 2017 or get booted out of the Virsekerbeker (formerly Beeldtrofee).
The letter of the law suggests Klofies has a strong case. With only three teams braving the Bulls Macro A-league (Garsfontein, Garsfontein and Menlopark) and the rest in the B-league, Klofies only had two scheduled games to begin with. So even by forfeiting one, they are still above the stipulated two games cancelled rule threshold needed to have all their league points deducted. And even if they finished third and last with no point in the A-league like the Menlopark 1st XV is likely to do this year, they would still qualify for a playoff game as part of Virsekerbeker’s third term knockout phase.
From the organisers point of view there must be legitimate concerns about what will happen if a Klofies team has to come up against Garsies team in the playoffs, so one has to sympathise with their efforts to protect the integrity of this valued and rich in history rugby cup competition.
The truth of the matter is cancelling school rugby matches should be a last resort. All other avenues to resolve differences should be attempted first and even then establishing and/or following written policy should be used as a basis for such an extreme decision.
Those that are punished by such cancellations are the school rugby players themselves. If they had a say in the matter 9.9 times out of 10, they would want to play.
If you drill down deep enough, you find the normal cause of a fallout is almost always driven by adults who don’t see eye to eye and it’s not uncommon that it’s more to do with personality clashes than principles.
The Virsekerbeker Macro Schools competition at the all-important 1st XV level needs Waterkloof more than Waterkloof needs it right now.
At the moment it’s basically a competition with one strong school from the Lions, one big gun from the Valke, two from the Pumas. There are no representatives from Limpopo and the Leopards only entrant Rustenburg hasn’t found the going all that easy in recent years. In Pretoria, Affies have turned their back on the cup competition, leaving the vastly improved Garsfontein ( cup champions in 2015 and 2016) and a competitive Klofies as vital cogs in keeping the standard high.
By contrast the Virseker Large Schools with its full regional participation continues to look like the real deal except for one eye-sore, namely Helpmekaar.
Given where Helpmekaar rugby is at these days, their strength adds no value to this Large Schools competition and probably takes away some of its appeal if anything.
If two great things could happen in the Macro Schools Virsekerbeker this year:
One would be to see this strong 2017 Helpmekaar team somehow be granted access to challenge for the Virsekerbeker Macro Schools trophy in 2017 and hopefully somewhere along the line during the knockouts, cross paths with Monument to set up a potential Noordvaal game of the season. Helpies are good enough to walk away with the coveted Noordvaal premier cup rugby crown and boy would that be special. When they win the Large Schools competition later this year, it’s unlikely there’ll be many positives comments about the expected achievement doing the rounds. (Word is that Helpies will be in the Macro Schools compo in 2018)
Two would be for Waterkloof to bury the short-term hatchet with Garsfontein and for both to agree to sit down at a boardroom table and work towards a more meaningful longer term in writing and signed off solution that benefits the players and fits in with both schools ethos. These are two really good schools in just about all departments of school life that should be galvanizing the competition that exists between them to become even better educational institutions.