Menlopark from Pretoria could be on the brink of a rugby crisis. Internal politics is the buzzword.
- Reghardt Botha, the highly respected in SBR circles yet deposed 1st XV coach is off to EG Jansen in Boksburg.
- Sylvester Booysen, who apart from his Menlo activities was the Bulls Grant Khomo 2018 coach has taken up the director of rugby post at Ben Viljoen in Groblersdal.
- Wynand Moolman, the recruitment guru, is believed to be on the brink of signing a long term deal at his former stomping ground Monument in Krugersdorp.
- Theuns Reynolds, the parent who’s generosity translated to Menlo’s biggest ever sponsor (PT Mining)is also believed to have walked away.
It spells trouble unless Menlopark have an action plan in the pipeline to stabilise the situation. Without the funds, personnel to attract/acquire good players and retention of quality coaches, it will be difficult to mount a strong challenge in the future.
Equally worrying is that the existing player talent pool at Menlopark is so good that it makes them highly sort after and therefore susceptible to jumping ship, if the grass at strong rival rugby schools starts to look a bit greener.
Menlopark have set a very high standard in the lower age-groups but for unexplainably reasons just have not managed to transform those age-group achievements into 1st XV rugby success. A setback this season was their failure to finish in the 1st XV Virsekerbeker Cup top 4, meaning they are out of the semi-final playoffs.
In spite of what’s happening on the ground, on paper the school’s prospects for 2019 look very promising indeed. Next year could mark a turning point for Menlopark. But a longer period sustained challenge is becoming an area of increasing doubt.