Last week (14 June 2017) Florida Hoërskool completed their LVL A-league and Virsekerbeker commitment by playing fellow Golden Lions region rivals and regional rugby powerhouse Monument. However there had been unhappiness earlier in the year stemming from Monument acquiring three former Florida under-14 players.
Florida had worked very hard to recruit four talented grade-8 rugby players for their 2017 under-14 team. The four had all been speedy Golden Lions under-13 Craven Week backline players in 2016.
However all four players all left Florida to join Monument during the April 2017 holidays.
Since then one boy returned to Florida.
Florida initially had refused to sign off the other three youngsters.
So during April 2017 the parents of those boys went to see the relevant officials at the school based to the west of Johannesburg to inform they wished to take the boys back to their homes in the Western Cape.
It is believed that Florida’s headmaster agreed to sign off the boys after their parents promised to take them back home as indicated.
According to a reliable source the boys had stayed with their parents in a B&B at the time of discussions, which came as a bit of a surprise given the families’ financial status. After an agreement reached by the headmaster and parents, Florida officials went to the B&B to collect some of the boys belongings, where the owner of the establishment told them she was asked to store the goods for a few weeks, which naturally came as another surprise.
Florida also believed that their headmaster had a verbal commitment from the Monument headmaster, that should these boys arrive at Monument that they would send them back.
As promised the boys were then all written in at Cape schools.
On 23 May 2017 the Golden Lions and Blue Bulls trials teams played at Monument and it was at that time that Florida came to learn that the boys were once again back at Monument.
The reason is alleged to have been that the parents could not get the boys settled in at their Cape schools, and so basically after exactly one month they returned to Gauteng and enrolled at Monument.
As a result of leaving the Gauteng and being written in at a school outside the province, they no longer needed a Florida release and were also no longer restricted in any way from qualifying to play for Monument.
For Florida this is a “bitter pil om te sluk” as the Afrikaans people would say.
The one boy had broken his leg at the Outeniqua under-14 Festival and Florida had paid for all the medical expenses including an operation and the works. When the boy was spotted at Monument during the trial games, he was on crutches that Florida had paid for.
Understandably the thought must have crossed Florida management’s mind to cancel their rugby fixtures against Monument in June.
“Wat het van gesonde buurmanskap en gesonde mededinging geword?” was one of the comments made by someone with first hand knowledge of the matter.
Monument will turn 100 years in 2021. Acquiring talented players like these backs could go a long way to towards building a “Dream Team” for that landmark year but it may come at a cost to Monnas’ good standing in their Golden Lions region community.