Rugby coaching / setup changes at KZN schools for 2018

Keegan Daniel joins Northwood and Bashford assumes head coaching role – 18 October 2018

Former Sharks captain (and Springbok) Keegan Daniel is the new coaching face at Northwood. His main focus will be the Knights’ 1st XV pack of forwards and word is he will be great for motivating the boys.

Northwood very diplomatically inserted the other major coaching news item which is that Grant Bashford has re-assumed the role of head coach. This means that Torsten Sorensen has been relieved of that duty. Sorensen is now the scrum coach. Without going into the pros and cons of the reshuffle, there seem to be mixed feelings on the ground about it. There is more written about both coaches lower down on this page.

Northwood have generally operated nearer to the tail of the KZN Tier 1 in the past decade. They have had their close call moments and a few memorably upset victories in the KZN interschools derbies along the way but they have never quite put together a consistent high level achievement season. 2019 offers the hopes of a major change in fortunes. The bulk of their 2018 1st XV will be returning and the improved attacking brand of rugby displayed in 2018 bodes well for the future.

Maritzburg College names new 1st XV coaches for 2019 – 16 September 2018

Barring another dramatic change, Maritzburg College look all set to close out this decade (2010-2019) with their eighth different 1st XV head coach. That is probably more 1st XV head coaches than any other top rugby school in SA and suggests there has been quite a bit of instability in recent times. Cameron Frazer, a Goudveld (Welkom) old boy and Afrikaans teacher at the 155 year old high school, will take over the reins from MCOB Tim Orchard. Frazer is promoted along with his u16A assistant, youngster Goi le Roux (MCOB) as rewarded for the good work done with that team. Tim Orchard is likely be involved in the u16A setup in 2019.

Michaelhouse head coach resigns after just five games in charge – 20 April 2018

Sam Mofokeng’s tenure will probably go down as one of the shortest 1st XV head coaching spells ever in KZN schoolboy rugby history . After just 5 matches (and 5 defeats) he decided to hand his resignation. The first speculation was did he jump or was he pushed? Things haven’t been going well behind the scenes of House rugby. There has been coaching disagreements about the direction the first team should be moving in. From my own previous experience of these kind of conflict matters, 1) it almost always impacts on the team’s performance on the field and 2) it just about never ends pleasantly. Anyway asking around about Sam there seems to be consensus even amongst rival school officials that he is a good coach and a helluva nice guy. Many people don’t always realise that there is a lot of pressure placed on a prominent school 1st XV coach from all sides to achieve the desired results. Perhaps the added message is that those who have succeeded in the role, have the strength of character to withstand the inevitable criticisms and challenges to their leadership that go hand-in-hand with the top job. Head of rugby James Fleming steps into the Michaelhouse pound seat now. He will be assisted by Ryan Strudwick. Between the two they have extensive professional rugby coaching experience. They will have to mould that into something schoolboys can relate to. There is potential for them to become quite an effective team. At this stage it is not known where Sam Mofokeng will fit into the House rugby setup.

College head coach relinquishes the role to focus on other duties – 26 February 2018

Well if you thought Maritzburg College were flying under the radar as far as 2018 KZN coaching dramas are concerned, guess again. With just a few of weeks to go before their regular season gets underway against St Charles, Maritzburg College old boy Ryan Kyle has stepped down as head coach at his alma mater. Apart from being a qualified teacher and the Shepstone BE Housemaster, Kyle holds the position of Admissions PRO (recruitment) at College. Just about every SBR coach out will concur that 1st XV coaching on it’s own is an onerous responsibility, so to lump it with at least two other time consuming jobs that carry a great deal of accountability equals huge pressure. And I guess in this case it was just a matter of time before something had to give. Ryan won’t be lost to rugby altogether  – he is set to take charge in the 2nd XV environment where there is a lot less external focus and hence pressure etc. etc.

The applecart hasn’t been fully upset though – there is potentially a smoothish coaching transition to someone who knows the players and systems well. Stepping up and into the 1st XV hot seat is another MCOB and teacher Tim Orchard. The likeable 1st XV assistant coach has paid his dues while working his way up the coaching ranks at College ever since he joined the staff back in 2004. Tim has been involved with the Red, Black, White 1st XV since 2015 and has also formed an integral part of the KZN under-16 Grant Khomo Week coaching setup for several years now. He has just 19 days until the regular season starts.

Yet another Westville  rugby official jumps ship – 30 January 2018

Dirkie Strydom – Westville. Westville’s 2017 1st XV head coach who made way for Jeremy McLaren and was all set to focus more intensely on directing the Highways’ school’s rugby, has handed in his resignation and will be heading to Middelburg in the Pumas region to work at Hoërskool Kanonkop. With so many coaches having parted ways with Westville in recent years, one might be inclined to think that the working environment isn’t too pleasant there. However with part of his family having already moved back to Middelburg, Dirkie’s decision has been put down to him wanting to reunite them under one roof again.

Instability is the appropriate term to describe the rugby setup at Ville. Jeremy McLaren who joined from Glenwood late in 2017, will be Westville’s fourth different head coach in four seasons. However as some seemingly good coaches have come and go, WBHS somehow manages to keep attracting quality. Another worthy recent addition has been Njabulo Zulu, a WOB (Westville Old Boy) with Golden Lions Academy Week coaching experience as well as being former all-KZN schoolboy rugby player, having earned caps at u13, u16 and u18 level for the province.

Braam van Straaten – St Charles. Once the dust settled at Kings Park, it was revealed that former Bok flyhalf Braam van Straaten, would look after the Super Rugby team’s defence in addition to his role as kicking coach. This effectively means that Braam and not Dick Muir replaces Ryan Studwick (now at Michaelhouse) at the Sharks. Braam spent a season overseeing the rugby of St Charles before joining the Sharks on a full-time basis. His understudy Petrus du Plessis, who is the St Charles’ strength and conditioning guru and scrum coach will take over in the role of Director of Rugby at the Pietermaritzburg private school.

Northwood sees the return of the prodigal son (again)
Grant Bashford – Northwood. He’s back! Can you believe it. After literally walking out on Northwood midseason last year to take up a job in Japan, “Bashie” has been returned to the Knights fold, no questions asked. Bashie will be Director of Coaching in this his third spell at Northwood. Torsten Sorenson will continue on as 1st XV Head Coach. Jonathan Scuby remains as Director of Rugby.

Blog from 1st January 2018

Dick Muir – Northwood. It was eventually confirmed late in 2017 that Dick Muir would be returning to the Sharks as an assistant coach, thereby ending his short-term stint with Northwood. A couple of interesting things came out of this move.

Firstly it’s alleged that Grant Bashford who held the job before Muir and vacated it to head to Japan, applied unsuccessfully to get back his old job at the school. In the end Northwood decided to back Torsten Sorensen, who might have his work cut out for him again this season but stands every chance of reaping the rewards in 2019 if the development of last year’s under-16A players goes well.

Secondly Muir appointment at the Sharks created a knock-on effect that impacted on Ryan Strudwick ending up at Michaelhouse.

Ryan Strudwick – Michaelhouse. A few years back, Strudwick  joined Maritzburg College after his contract was up with the Sharks, so he’s acquired plenty of experience of dealing with school kids and he’s also had to come to terms with feeling let down by the Rugby Union. If he was disappointed with the Sharks during that spell at College, one can only imagine how much unhappier he must be with the decision-makers at Kings Park these days. He was effectively forced out of the picture altogether as a Sharks senior pro level coach to make way for the arrival of Dick Muir. According to the print media in November 2017, Strudwick is/was still awaiting some explanations from the Sharks.
Read the full article here: https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/axed-strudwick-still-waiting-for-reasons-20171121-2

The lousy part is that the tone of that article has probably put Strudders on the back foot with the Michaelhouse support base as well now.  It states that he “…has settled for a job as sports director at private school Michaelhouse despite offering to take a demotion to the Sharks’ juniors.”  The House job which incidentally received plenty of applications, is made to seem decidedly inferior. Anyway actions will speak a lot louder than words in the months to come and if Strudwick delivers, this start will be quickly forgotten.

Derek Heiberg – Glenwood. Heiberg’s meteoric rise at Glenwood continued as he was named new head coach in late 2017, replacing Jeremy McLaren (now Westville). Helberg, a biokineticist by qualification joined Glenwood in 2013 as their Head of Physical Education and a strength and conditioning consultant. 2013 was Sean Erasmus’ last year in charge of Glenwood rugby and there have been a few personnel changes since then. At the start of 2017, Heiberg was elevated to Director of Rugby replacing Shawn van Rensburg (now DHS) and also served as assistant 1st XV coach (replacing Mike Vowles). His new assistant will be Jose dos Santos, the 2017 u16A coach.

Blog from October 2017

Westville lands in the KZN pound seat

Wow! This is going to be one for the books. Westville who form an integral part of KZN school rugby and yet seem to have been marginalised in the all-important under-18 youth week decision-making process for many years now, will soon have the Craven Week head coach and with him a KZN Sharks under-18 selector’s vote. This all happens once highly rated coach Jeremy McLaren joins their staff – (expected 01 November).

Let’s hope no-one feels too threatened by this move as it does bring about a really nice even spread of the selectors’ votes amongst the key schools, provided all other things remain consistent.

McLaren’s move comes as a bit of a surprise. He was only in charge of the Glenwood 1st XV for this past one season having gained promotion to that role from the u16A, and was expected to be in charge of that same talented u16 group at 1st XV level in 2018.

The Westville shift may still see McLaren in the role of head coach, with Dirkie Strydom who had held the job for this 2017 season, stepping into a type of rugby director’s role. However this is unconfirmed.

COACHING MOVEMENTS IN KZN

It is the second big coach news item coming out of KZN in the last few weeks, after Michaelhouse stalwart Ryno Combrinck was announced as Paul Roos’ new rugby head.

In other known moves, Michaelhouse picked up old boy James Fleming from the EPRU (and Sharks before that) to head up an interesting portfolio as the head of sports medicine and he’ll also be actively involved in 1st XV rugby coaching. Sam Mofokeng, having worked at various private schools, has finally paid all his dues and is set to take charge of the Michaelhouse 1st XV in 2018. He replaces Andre van Wyk who steps down to a lower A-team after a couple of years in charge at the top. Remember Michaelhouse have also effectively lost the services of former 1st XV head coach Michael Schwartz to St Alban’s in Pretoria. The master in charge of sport position is up for grabs at Michaelhouse so there could still be a significant new face at Balgowan before long.

Jo-Ash van Aswegen, the Westville 1st XV assistant coach for the past few years and former head boy has joined Clifton, in what now looks like a neat WOB core, as two key figures in the Morningside school’s setup Ross Saayman (head coach) and Grant Bell (Director) are also both alumni from the leafy suburbs of ‘Ville. Clifton has also acquired the services of Hendan Wienand.

Jo-Ash takes the place vacated by Jono Piek, a Glenwood old boy and current KZN under-18 selector. Piek is one of the new faces at Glenwood.

It felt like it was only yesterday when Shawn van Rensburg was named as Glenwood’s new director of rugby, but it was actually back in 2014. He made a quick and quiet exit during April and now plies his trade at DHS.

During the season Northwood’s man in charge Grant Bashford resigned in order to move to a Japanese rugby club. He was replaced as head coach by his assistant Torsten Sorensen, who was part of the big exodus from Westville a couple of years back. Dick Muir stepped into the director of rugby role for the rest of the 2017 season but there is every chance of seeing Muir as part of the Sharks ranks next year and not with Northwood. After four years at the helm Northwood headmaster Paul McAvoy also called it quits. The headmaster appointment usually has a bearing on rugby direction at a school.

87 Comments

  1. Wow some big shifts a foot. Any confirmation on the Dicks Muirs departure from Northwood? wow will be sad to see him go – although would be great to have him back at the Sharks.

    Glenwood seem to be leaking good talent, coaches and players I hear – and DHS i believe are profiting. Also in time Clifton will be a force to be reckoned with – the same way St Charles have improved. Private all boys without the need to board is very attractive in KZN!

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  2. Beet Howzit – Happy 2018 and all those good things. Strudders should surely be claiming #fakenews / poor journalism OR he should learn to double declutch when he changes gear – think before you bumble publically. If the report is accurate, as a House supporter I find it interesting and concerning that he has elected to start his stint at House with his periscope up, still looking for other possible career opportunities. Hopefully he gets stuck in and settles in to all that House offers to him.

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  3. @McCulleys Workshop: Happy New Year McCulleys and all others.

    Yeah I guess House is also going through its own redefinition transition phase now. It wasn’t too long ago that Rector Theron made reference to professionalism at House and I guess in a way the article creates a sense that this pro style approach is exactly what MHS are getting now.

    I spoke to a MHS “insider” about the new appointment a few days ago and one thing he reminded me about something which won’t come thru in a newspaper report and that is Strudwick’s likeable personality. He’s a nice guy and although there’ll be no mistaking on what aspects he’ll ultimately be judged in terms of success in his new role at House, he’s the sort of person who is bound to have those around him rooting for him to do well.

    In a way its a pity the article sidetracks into SBR. The main theme is the cut throat world of pro rugby. A good guy who has trusted the union, probably worked his arse off, been part of a fairly successful Currie Cup run and possibly been made aware of the good work he’s going or maybe perhaps even had a reasonable right to assume that his services would be retained, suddenly gets kicked to the head and what’s more those who did it, don’t afford him the courtesy of a sit down explanation for what happened, not that they are obliged to but it sucks that someone goes from teamster to cut out the picture entirely.

    Also there is no doubt that the Sharks juniors are badly in need of help. The experience of having Sean Everitt there again will no doubt be a huge bonus but even still in relation to the other big guns of SA provincial rugby, the setup has this neglected feel about it.

    But agree with you. Hopefully Strudders can put the mentioneddisappoiting treatment by the Sharks behind him and get stuck at Balgowan. I hope he doesn’t drown in all the admin work.

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  4. @McCulleys Workshop:Also it sounds like James Fleming is going to be a great asset to House. Seems like his enthusiasm and love for old school are off the charts and the boys are loving their interactions with him from what I’ve heard.

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  5. @Beet: I think he will make a great contribution to conditioning and believe he is a defensive coaching specialist. It’ll be interesting to watch the space.

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  6. Wow wonder why Bashy did not get his old job back? Perhaps just some stability needed now. The boys have been messed about a bit it seems, and NWood need some consistency if they hope to build anything meaningful. A tough year ahead still I fear. Some decent u16A’s will come through I think, but again depth might be a problem, along with the step up to 1st team level against some more settled and senior teams at other schools.

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  7. Good grief! If the Knights can settle down i.t.o their coaching structures things may change for the better.
    @beet – will there be 2 directors of rugby?

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  8. Big loss for St Charles I feel. Braam was doing great things by the look of it. But still St Charles are well placed in the SA education system to continue to attract and recruit top rugby talent.

    @Beet Any thoughts on the KZN teams this year and how the should fare?

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  9. @Skywalker: Agree about Braam van Straaten. I was looking forward to him introducing some radical ideas to schoolboy rugby which he mentioned he was developing during the latter part of last year :cry: . Looking at his career so far, he is bound to turn up somewhere in the SBR scene again at some stage. Wishing him all the best in his new role.

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  10. I hear Mclaren is great, so maybe things will settle now. Westville have the players no question, so just a case of settling on a style of play and a coach.

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  11. @Skywalker: It is a little concerning that coaches come and go this frequently. Hopefully things will now settle down and we can build going forward. Sad to see him go as the results last year was a massive improvement on the previous year.

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  12. @Skywalker: Regarding KZN. Without jinxing Glenwood, I think this will be their season. They tick a lot of boxes and have useful + plenty of experienced players in just about every starting position. Personally I feel the main interest will be to see what their new head coach brings to the party and how the team gels under his guidance. I’d also like to see who will step up to be the big ball carrier/s for Glenwood or if their style of play even requires one. From a national point of view, I think Glenwood’s poor form at Grey College at the end of last season now works in their favour because it’s taken a lot of the limelight away and allows them to enter 2018 without as much expectations as most seasons in the recent past.

    The battle for 2nd in KZN is possibly were all the interest may lie. I can’t say that there is a clear-cut favourite but I don’t think Westville have done their chances any harm by acquiring McLaren. Ville are way overdue for a big season. It may not happen this year but one can see them performing better over the next few years if they can bring about some sort of coaching stability and find JM the right assistant partner. Finding the right sort of asst coach seems more important at Ville than any other KZN school based on recent history.

    Hilton get to combine 2 useful age-groups this year, so expect they will also be right up there and may even rue not playing Glenwood if their team gels and plays to true potential. They should come out on top as best KZN private school and might set their sights on a double double over KC and MHS.

    DHS have probably been working hardest of all KZN schools to 1st XV level recruit players in the obvious hopes of improving their chances so I suspect we will have to see the quantity and impact the newbies have on their results. They have a few good returning players as well but their success will probably come down to managing two things – masking weaknesses of fringe players and lack of depth when injuries hit.

    Kearsney really hard to say but I suspect they will be battling it out for a finish somewhere in the middle of the KZN tier 1. Seems like a decent sized pack and the coaches have done very well with the backline playbook over the past few seasons. Depth is always an issue at the KZN privates and with those 2 back to back festivals in April, they might come out of it with regrets. Since the KZN season is congested into mainly the second term there isn’t much breathing room or recovery time between key matches.

    Michaelhouse – more or less like Kearsney, I don’t feel overly confident that they will have a season to write home about but one expects them to put up stiff resistance in their derbies. Also a new coaching setup. They will be under pressure if results don’t go their way but perhaps the key objective is to lay the groundwork.

    Maritzburg College – If I’m not mistaken, this matric year hasn’t had much success at lower age-group level, so I say they come in as the complete underdogs. They have a few players to be excited about though and being a big school with a strong rugby culture, maybe a couple of match-winners backed up by confident players and some good coaching and motivation will go a long way.

    Northwood. Perhaps just a year out from a good season.

    Clifton. I’m keen to see what they have to offer. I think it could be a good year for them.

    St Charles. I’m really not sure what to expect.

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  13. I do not have any active affiliation with any school anymore. I do however want to say something about the new Director at St Charles. In Petrus du Plessis you now have one of the finest young coaches I have ever met. An absolute GENTLEMAN. A fine coach. A decent human being.
    Well done Petrus. And thank you. You will know.

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  14. @Pinotage: Hi Pinotage, St Charles certainly turned things around last year. From memory House have generally beaten them quite well through all the age groups over the years, but last year was very different, I think we may have scraped the first team game and lost all the other A team games and the win loss ratio on the day shifted dramatically. This year should be no exception. St Charles are producing quality private school all round education at a reasonable price, with huge tradition and a church school ethos. Good for them.

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  15. @McCulleys Workshop: There’s been some activity in Kanonkop. Heard WBHS is a swimming school.
    A student walking from Kanonkop to the Nkangala FET campus, claims that she saw a crocodile in the Klein Olifants.

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  16. The MHS side are not world beaters , but the fact that they are 0/5 doesn’t look good.

    Maybe some fresh impetus from the new coaching set up will give the boys a ‘ bounce’ .

    Politics like this at schools can’t be good for morale , amongst the boys ( they are not stupid, they have a very good feeling for what is happening ) . Tea time talk in the staff room must also be rather frosty !

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  17. @Far Meadows: Morning Far Meadows, sad to hear. Just got to try and put it behind and maybe treat this game against DHS as a new beginning. 2 3 House

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  18. @Bush: Hi Bush, well it is now 0/6….

    Checking through yesterday’s results , I see that both Hilton’s u14a rugby and hockey teams beat College yesterday, I would love a historian to go back through the records to see when last that happened ( if ever ) . Hilton’s massive investment in players is paying off .

    One has to wonder if ‘House are goIng have a change in strategy and offer the massive number of bursaries that Hilton are currently offering or if they are going to try to ‘ ride out the storm’ and see if the Hilton funders get bored and pull the plug at some stage ?

    In reality you could have Graham Henry as your coach , but if you don’t have the players to work with you are still not going to win .

    Would like to be a fly on the wall at the next strategy session.

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  19. @Far Meadows: Hi Far Meadows. I was at the College Hilton game. Hilton didn’t have everything there own way. The Hilton side is a great side, well drilled. Boys are in great condition. Hope they don’t hit their straps against House. If I was the investor I would be a little upset with the performance of my stock😬😬😬😬. Great result for Hilton at u14a. To beat any College side is a great result. I’m a believer that the u14 group is a waste of time for recruitment. Boys change radically in 3 years. Grade 10 is the right age group imo. House results overall against DHS were good, considering where DHS want to be. That is a great question, where does House want to be in sport. Isn’t that an OB’s concern and priority ahead of a prospective parent? Will we be happy to play Linpark, Carter and Vorries in 5 years time😬😬😬😬😬😬. We still have an unbeaten record
    against Monnas and they just smashed Grasies 2 3 House

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  20. @Far Meadows: Howzit, I’ve heard that they are not going to go the same route as HC, but rather stick to their ethos of providing holestic education without any overt biases. There was a comment that went along the lines of “they are watching what is transpiring at HC with interest”. As debated before, when you start the journey that HC has, where does it end and how does it change the ethos of the school, the attitude of staff and does it attract the type of families you want to attract? Over zealous imported parents are the bain of many sports events or social gatherings. I think House are doing the right thing. It is an extremely costly and difficult exercise to identify a boy in grade 7, and provide him with a scholarship (R1.2 mill) for 5 years and hope that he will still out perform in his given sport by grade 12. Bush and I have debated this, often those players remain reasonable players, and if you have a nucleus of journeymen around them and good coaching, and add selectively in grade 10, (Bader) it reduces your cost and risk, and you can identify weak positions that need to be filled. The one thing that a winning culture does do is ensure you are oversubscribed and generally your non OB applicants will be of a higher sporting caliber.

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  21. @Far Meadows: @Bush: Playa can give us the dope, but I believe Bishops have a program of coaching and player developement in some of the local communities and they then advertise rugby bursaries for grade 10 learners, who generally come through their program. Clever move and hard to criticize it.

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  22. Apparently 6 boys who were due to go to House for the sports bursary assessments just didn’t pitch up, they had already been awarded bursaries by Hilton (who seem to have broken the gentlemen’s agreement between the schools regarding not awarding the bursaries before the other school). If that’s where you end up I’d rather not. They are most welcome.

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  23. @McCulleys Workshop: It is an arms race that no one will end up winning in the end , it will just end up being a p1ssing contest .

    MHS have burnt their fingers in the past with the Grey Bloem post matric fiasco, and as an old boy I certainly wouldn’t want the school to go down that road again .

    I saw the attitude of some of the Hilton parents last year that I have never seen before at a Hilton / Michaelhouse derby day that was also quite an eye opener .

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  24. @Far Meadows: While I agree guys, and I feel your pain as a Northwood supporter (believe me!), the reality is that if the school doesnt start throwing some money at this…it will only get worse. We can debate the fairness and morality of it all, but the bottom line is that rugby results are vital to an all boys school for so many reasons. NW tried to take the ‘high ground’ and just aim to be ‘competitive’ etc etc and rugby nearly slipped off the map altogether, and it has taken years to try and rebuild after some very very embarrassing results. They are still trying. It effects the boys, the Old Boys, community, the morale, image of the school etc. Ironically Hilton were tired of losing to you repeatedly over the last 10 years and finally decided to put their money to good use. The result though, is the most PR i have seen on the school on social media etc in years – Old Boys buzzing with excitement, wanting to go back for school games etc. This win over MCB has reverberated around SA…Its a vicious circle, but your fortunately your school have the resources and best to start fighting for talent asap.

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  25. @Skywalker: True. Extensive U14 recruitment does not guarantee future success, but at least the team will be reasonably competitive and gaps can be filled. Their competitiveness a barometer of where the sports headed.
    It wouldn’t have been a lot of fun taking 50 from DHS. Then there’s still the prospect of facing Northwood (that overcame DHS) and Hilton twice (possibly the strongest KZN U14 team this year).
    I guess the clipboards will be coming out.

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  26. @Far Meadows: you happy to see MHS get humped? I think MHS will eventually need to throw some money at the problem. MC have had different issues this season. Think big question marks over coaching. Not cool to lose to Hilton but I saw this loss happening. Think the season will be a write off if they lose the next few games although it’s probably a write off already

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  27. @Far Meadows: The prominence given to schoolboy rugby is astounding as well as the lengths taken to achieve noticable recognition.
    I’m sure the boys themselves would prefer to be playing Fortnite 24/7.

    I also believe that they had bagged their recruits prior to the normal scholarship process having being concluded.

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  28. I think what you are all missing is that House does provide sporting and academic scholarships, like they have for the last 40 years or longer. Nothing has changed wrt their grade 7 recruiting and scholarships for the past 11 years, which has produced fantastic years like 2007 with Cronje x 2, Combrink, Lambie, 2008 was a great year, as were most of the years to 2012. 2016 was an unbeaten season and they have generally provided a number of players to the CW side annually. So either their recruitment is not up to scratch or its a coaching issue. I for one am not convinced you can pick a guy in grade 7 and know what will transpire by grade 12. Schools like Grey and HJS have an u14A and B team made up of the previous years CW week players from various regions, not 2/3 craven week players, the odds are completely different, add to that the boys that end up at those schools in grades 9/10/11. A full scholarship at House will cost around R1.2 over 5 years. There aren’t too many of those to be handed out. As an Old Boy and school boy rugby supporter, my ego isn’t such that I find the need to recruit and fund rugby talent so my alma mater can give our neighbours “one”. If I was so inclined I would fund deserving kids, however unrelated to their sporting prowess. I would address the basis the scholarship selection process is being undertaken and by who, and happily entertain potential sporting or academic contributors to the school post grade 8. With a school of 600 kids, there are still a considerable no of old boys who either do or want to send their kids to the school, regardless of their sporting ability and these kids need to be catered for. House have appointed a new head as of April 2019, a St Andrews old boy and phenomenal educationist, currently the head of a leading school in the UK. I have no doubt that continued good leadership will add to all areas of the school including on the sports field.

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  29. @Ballie: Yes and from my understanding there was a gentleman’s agreement between the two schools not to award the scholarships before the other school. Just really depends on whats important to you or how important it is to you.

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  30. McCulley I’m in your corner. Please make sure the mouth wash is Rum. This will be spoken about till the cows come home. How many of the bloggers here go and watch SBR because they want too. How many go because their kids are at school. So what if House gets pumped, I will still go down to Meadows, sit under the Pin Oakes. Cry in my Gin because House got pumped by GW. But I will be back again next week. 2 3 House.
    Look at the overall results against DHS this past weekend, they were fantastic. Points for House we’re greater. (I hope, where the sister when you need her) How much has House done compared to DHS 😶😶😶😶😶😶. Let’s talk again in 5 years time. House will still be around. 2 3 House

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  31. @Buddy: Buddy what’s happened to Glenwood’s OosRandPa. I see he moved his son back to EG Jansen. Naturally it came as a huge big surprise to me 8-O

    @Bush: I wonder if there will be more seating room under the old trees now, seeing that the new coaching staff prefer to monitor the action from the vicinity of the halfway line. :-P

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  32. @Buddy: Buddy can’t you read man. Okes are complaining that we are not buying players. Hilton gets them before that have left the gates. No point in competing with that. We want okes that want to be at House.There’s no free stuff at House, unless it’s from another kids locker. Come now Buddy, hurry up and finish off with Grade 12, they have been the best 8 years of your life.

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  33. @beet: There’s never space there. You need to book the day before the game. I believe House were unlucky on Saturday. If they played DHS at House on Meadows, House would have chowed them. Why did we have to play them again at DHS? We played there last year? Can someone give a honest answer. My honest opinion DHS were scared 😬😬😬😬😬😬

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  34. @beet: If it’s the correct boy my understanding is that he was not selected as part of the First XV sqaud and made the second team ,the dad was not happy with it……

    Personally I think to make the squad this year you must be brilliant .Said boy competed with the likes of Joe Jonas and Cele

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  35. @Buddy: You may find Spear there. Where is Spear. Last time I saw him, he was trying to wrestle some oke at Notties. That was after Golf at Bosh Hoek. Mr Clark’s wonderful course. Lovely out there, even for Spear.

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  36. @Bush: Ja it’s a good question. The feedback I got is House wanted to balance out their fixtures in terms of home and away games. It’s the second rugby fixture decision this year that I’m sure House supporters wish had been different, the other being playing Kearsney with an inadequate lead-time.

    College have also forfeited a home game to play Northwood under floodlights in Durban North on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how that decision works out. However I would probably opt to play Northwood away this year and home next year if asked to make that choice.

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  37. @Bush: Ruggas in KZN is becoming very competitive again. The recent “resignation” of the MHS coach shows the pressure under which coaches and schools operate.

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  38. @Buddy: He moved his older son from EG to Glenwood a few years back and seemed to be of great service to Glenwood in the recruitment department, but perhaps with the change of guard his close acquaintances now work for DHS.

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  39. @Hulk: Geez when last did anyone come across a 1st XV coach of a high profile school that didn’t feel the huge pressure of the job even when things were going right.

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  40. @beet: Those first 2 games, when everybody else had 4 weeks of rugby and House had 4 days. Then the DHS game. House could have 3 games in the Win column. Any way cowboys don’t cry, especially in front of their mom’s and someone’s sister. 😬😬😬😬😬😬😬

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  41. @Buddy: Lekker Buddy, just rolled my polony reading you saying 2 3 House. Change your jersey then you can be my Best Buddy and we can say 2 3 House together 😘😘😘😘

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  42. @McCulleys Workshop: Grade 10 & 11 to be exact. Hated by most, admired by some. I guess when you have participated in the development of a kid from a young age without having him in your home he’s as good as your own flesh and blood.

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  43. As an oke connected to KC, I cannot speak more highly of the ex-MHS coach. He is a scholar and a gentleman with considerable coaching acumen, proven at provincial level. It was his dream to return to his alma mater and IMO a great loss to KC. No-one will dispute the pressures on 1st team coaches and I just hope that as a newbie he received all the support to help him handle such pressure? It was hardly ideal to give him the start he got in terms all the other sideshows seemingly prioritised at the beginning of the season. Bit like asking a guy to run a 100m race in gumboots. MHS will be back – I watched a full day’s play both last and this year and was really impressed with the standard of play throughout from House – well-drilled, motivated, great team spirit and not afraid to take chances with flair. The 2nd team vs KC this year was a great example. I do hope SM gets a valued role in the coaching set-up, and we see him again at some point in time back at the helm at MHS. All the better as an OB and master! And then lastly, I really hope MHS don’t stoop to enlist a Money Team!! Because the big wheel turns …

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  44. @Griffhound: Last Friday, I had lunch with, inter alia, my son (SM was his tutor at St Alban’s 4 years ago) and the MHS 1st XV captain of 2017. Both were surprised that he resigned and both shared your sentiments re his qualities as a coach and a human being. As you say, hopefully he’ll get a decent role in 2018 and then bounce back at some point..

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  45. @Griffhound: Didn’t Kearsney stoop to enlist a Money team a few years back the fruits of which will be parading on the great fields of the world for many years to come. :lol: Kearsney have their centenary in 2021( I think). I am sure the current U15 squad was selected with that in mind. Hilton have their 150th in 2022( also my 40th anniversary) and I will not lie and say the current Hilton U14 ranking does not prick my interest. Conversely the House U14 performance against Westville was not great. They only put out 3 teams ( with 2 matches staggered) and the points differential was over 50 points per match. In fact House did not win a game all day which must be a first. While these great private institutions with the history and ethos will always be relevant, I think sometimes they need to understand the current temperature and respond accordingly. Hilton has taken the initiative and the results are there on a fairly consistent basis.

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  46. @star: It’s become increasingly hard for the KZN privates to just stumble onto a really u14A team now. Kearsney did well out of DPHS for a number of years but it seems like Hilton have moved in on that territory now. Hilton and Michaelhouse are finding it a little harder to attract the best of Jozi and surrounding areas their way with the likes of Helpmekaar and also St John’s and St Stithians that much more in tune with what it requires to have a successful 1st XV 5 years down the line. If KC and MHS are not going to spend big on gr8s, they either have to spend very smartly or trust their rugby development systems to give them some sort of edge.

    Looking at the KZN situation, if a school is able to remain competitive without having to overspend, it does seem like first prize, esp for a school like MHS which is oversubscribed every year anyway. That is not a luxury many KZN rival schools have.

    Both MHS and KC seem to have rugby participation problems at u14 level, which seem to change from u15 level onwards as hockey players defect to rugby. I think MHS only fielded 2 u14 rugby teams against DHS and KC only have 3. HC offered 4 against MC.

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  47. @star: There would appear a subtle difference in the KC scholarship policy of present as well as years gone by – guided by reason and respect – vs an embedded image of my good wife with my credit card! :wink: Not a topic I would like to expand upon. But in MHS defence regarding their poorly performing u14 – in the 8 odd years that I’ve watched House regularly, they have never produced a powerhouse u14 team, and yet by u16 and Matric, they are so often highly competitive. Surely that’s what it’s all about – and hats off to their coaches and systems implemented. They’ve done a great job over the years. The cynical will point to a recruitment effort that kicks in well after Gr8 but methinks they will battle to justify that view with hard facts.

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  48. @star: In another vein, I had the misfortune to watch my alma mater and KC play GW on successive Saturdays, and thought that GW were outstanding – playing two completely different games against different opposition. That’s class. Now that HC have decided to recruit all and sundry, would it not be great for all if they could shrug off their GW complex? They would now most certainly be able to jol on a level playing field – in more ways than one. :lol:

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  49. @Griffhound: Must agree with you and would love to see the Hilton vs Glenwood fixture back in the future.

    Hats off to Derek Heiburg and José Capitao that brings a brand new style of ruggas to the Green Machine

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  50. @Griffhound: I agree with you about the Rugby at House at u14 level. Consider last years 1st XV, I think against DHS that side at U16A got 50 plus points and the game last year there were I think 2-3 points in it. Same goes with this years pre-season. House had 4 days to put all their rugby sides together. Other schools had 4 weeks and some 8 months. House has the proper coaching and with the correct conditing they will get there. Even though House have lost all their games thus far, they haven’t received a massive hiding. Some games could have gone either way. Now look at those schools that House have lost too and see how much time, money and effort they have put in. I would be a little disappointed. 2 3 House

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  51. @Bush: Almost rolled the old Merc reading you comment 👌🏻Had to duck a moerse clap from my mountain Witch for reading it while driving 😂😂😂🙈🤷🏼‍♂️

    Will buy you a beer at the next Toti home game 👊🏻🍺

    Cheers 🍻

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  52. @Griffhound: I must agree with your statement about Kearsney having a different approach to scholarships this 2018 intake. They seemed to not be interested in good sportsman. My son had an impressive sporting CV and they didn’t even consider him. Even after making the Craven Week u13A team they still were not interested in the slightest, while a lot of other schools showed very keen interest. We heard rumours as to the criteria that the selection panel were working to, but of course those could never be confirmed. However the make up of the current u14a team tends to support the theory.

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  53. @Griffhound: I can assure you many Hilton OBs are very keen to ” shrug off the their GW complex” as you say. Surely it would be a bit hypocritical not to do so (with the current structures) and when House front up so manfully. And what is it with Bush popping up all over the place. I am sure I saw the bushy beard on the stands of Goldstones last week. It is like a case of where is Waldo. :wink:

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  54. @star: the so called money team of 2013 , the Doep era , was not so much a mass recruiting drive but more a follow of the Doep twins , with the older boet already at Kearsney it made sense that the twins would come , funny thing is that out of the 9 or so prep boys that come with them in grade 8 , only 3 ended up playing in the firsts … the highbury boys dominated that side in matric with 6 of them playing craven week …. that same highbury side took massive points from the prep side in grade 7 , so as some one mentioned , the risks of getting in grade 8s for rugga are huge …… also to add , there is no proof of a great natural rugby intake the year after a great first xv season at our KZN schools , the talented kids families still chase the money , it all depends on which school is giving the most , currently its Hilton , so the people are flocking their , when the OBs lose interest the talent will follow the next school whom are forking out !!

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  55. @oldschool: I think with Hilton it is becoming more systematic. Look at their cricket. They have a highly ranked first team and U14 team giving a 5 year range with several good teams in between. There is some consistency developing and they are also being clever in the recruitment. I noticed in the MC match that there were several first team cricketers playing. Good value I would say. My nephew played for Highbury in that match when they were pumped in grade 7. He also went on to play CW. He captained the U13B team that year with the vice captain being J. Kriel. While there will be some fallout the cream will always rise and you only need a few to take a team to the next level. Look at what Bader did for House. Did he come from nowhere? The current GW team had its genesis in one of the top U14 teams. It would be interesting to see how many are still in the game.

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  56. @star: agree fully , they have implemented a great system of recruiting and specialist coaches coupled with aggressive marketing….. however , the key ingredient is still free or heavily discounted education to talent … the talented kids demand massive scholarships and some one else has to pay , it’s either the class mate at full fees or generous old boys ….. still not sustainable if the money stops flowing , if you had to stop the scholarships would these kids families still choose to go there ?

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  57. @star: Lekker Star, had a bet going on in that stand. Afraid to say I lost my beer money, so I couldn’t pop off to the bowling club for a cold one😬

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  58. @oldschool: Great view. I agree with your thoughts.
    @star: Star, how much moola have you personally thrown at these Hilton hijacks? My guess is not one cent. Nor would I. So what happens when these personas arrive at their ego’s not being attached to HC? Happy days.

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  59. @McCulleys Workshop: PS I personally have no doubt that the MHS OB community would out gun you if they picked up the mantle, but it’s all waste of time in the long run.

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  60. @McCulleys Workshop: Is Star HC OB? That’s the reason why you have never received your winnings from him😶😶😶😶. As I mentioned before, Hilton were great but not that great against College (Please don’t peak against House next weekend) The win against the College u14a immense, in fact any win against a College side is a great achievement. The problem HC have now and forever is to keep feeding that boiler house. Every u14 team entering HC after this year is going to have to be of the same standard or better. That’s many years of investing. I’m sure House can loan HC a few $$$ if things get a little tight.

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  61. @Far Meadows: Whahshahahahsh just choked on my polony sandwich. Very true Far Meadows, House are a different team at Home. We would have beaten DHS on Meadows 👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿

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  62. @Bush: Unfortunately I think it will only be for a week .

    There are a few weak links that Hilton will be able to exploit .

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  63. @Far Meadows: i was up at the hC vs KC day on saturday and watched all the A team games , each game was tightly contested and could have gone either way , the First team game was a cracker . With all the hype around their mass recruiting of talent and recruiting of rugga players after grade 8 , the net result is that HC are now competitive with Kearsney … in the First team game , two of their post grade 8 recruits were brilliant , the 10 and the big lock , the 10 got there last year and the lock got there halfway through grade 9 . in the u16 game , they also have some new recruits , their new big tight head had a great game .
    Having an active recruitment plan to fill holes in teams is definetly benefiting them and from what ive heard is they are not slowing down , so i can see some current u14 and u15 lads being disposed of for new recruits in the near future .
    from a sideline perspective ,the traditional HC community is still their , somewhat smug and arrogant now that they have become competitive , however there is a new sideline element in play with the new stock … some of the comments made and the manner in which the comments were delivered will have turned many an old blue blood in there graves ! that being said , it was a great day of sport . The only negative is the manner in which they celebrated victory , there must have been 3 songs and war cries after the main game with the 1st XV lads lined up in front of the school , culminating in a toyi toyi type dance and song that was very rythmic but was a bit over the top in the traditional sense of celebrating a win at private schools.

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