From honeymoon to divorce in next to no time!
This news item has been fairly difficult to piece together for various reasons so hopefully it it achieves its desired goal of being factual. Plus there is so much that can be written about it but let’s try stick to the nitty-gritty stuff.
Paarl Boys’ High School, the hosts of the 2018 World Schools Festival (WSF) will NOT be taking part in next year’s WSF to be hosted by Paul Roos Gymnasium.
The reasons why Carinat, the organisation that controls the WSF decided to move it from Boishaai have still not been made public. As surprising is that it seems like the sponsors who helped get this year’s festival off the ground and turn it into something special, where not given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the decision to move. One influential Paarl based sponsor, who went out of their way to market the festival, accepted the financial and other challenges of launching the project and was hoping to reap the benefits from a Paarl based festival from year two onwards, indicated that a request for a formal meeting to discuss the venue did not materialise and next thing the media release was made that Paul Roos of Stellenbosch were hosting in 2019.
A fledging school rugby festival is usually a flop the first time around and it takes a few years to get it to become something that’s well-recognised and a crowd attraction. So under those circumstances, the inaugural WSF, the first of its kind in SA, did exceptionally well. It included a sell out final day. There were hiccups and aspects of the festival were criticised but all-in-all it was bold, ambitious, expensive and it left a lasting memory. The locals got behind it and when push came to shove, the Boishaai community defended the festival like it was their own.
The Boishaai community had good reason to believe the WSF was their own. The concept of the WSF was introduced to Boishaai in 2014 by their Head of Rugby Sean Erasmus. The successful 1st coach’s vision was for it to become Boishaai’s property. He brought Carinat on board to help make it a reality for the school’s 150th birthday celebration year. However somewhere along the line in the setting up of the agreements, Boishaai erred and allowed Carinat to gain full control. And at some point either before, during or after the festival, Carinat must have become dissatisfied with either the setup at Boishaai or the personnel they were dealing with at Boishaai or perhaps a combination of both. This seems like the only logical explanation for the move to a new venue, given what they had achieved in year one.
Something else that came to the fore was that parties connected to Boishaai asked Paul Roos not to accept the offer made to them by Carinat, in order to give Boishaai a chance to settle differences with Carinat, in the hopes of retaining the festival. Perhaps this is a different argument for a different day but there was no obligation or gentleman’s agreement in place to suggest Paul Roos’s should have worked with Boishaai. Stalling might have even cost Paul Roos the chance to host. In the end, the overwhelming opinion stemming from those close to Paul Roos was the matter/disagreement was between Boishaai and Carinat and not between Paul Roos and Boishaai.
It appeared that Boishaai were then omitted from the original 2019 invitation list. This was perhaps not surprising given the tension that must have existed between the Carinat and Boishaai representatives at the time.
Somehow Boland Landbou, a small school based just outside Paarl and one of the participants at the 2018 WSF then got dragged into the plot.
Boland Landbou found out that they were also not invited to the WSF 2019, which in its own right seemed odd, given their rugby pedigree. Both Boishaai and Boland Landbou were also not thrilled that fellow local school Paarl Gymnasium had received the green light to attend in 2019. At that stage Boishaai were contemplating launching their own international festival to rival the WSF. They informed Boland Landbou of this intention. So later when Boland Landbou were invited to the WSF for 2019, they declined under the auspices of Boishaai’s festival offer.
However Boishaai aborted their idea of a rival festival and accepted the invite to play at WSF 2019 when it eventually came. Worth noting is that even as hosts Paul Roos have little involvement in setting up the WSF. Those aspects are all controlled by Carinat. Nevertheless there is good reason to believe that Paul Roos played an instrumental role in securing the invite for Boishaai.
So there was a point in time when Boishaai were going to take part in the WSF 2019.
This left Boland Landbou out in the cold, although it must be added that in spite of their initial displeasure, they were perfectly willing to accept their fate. One party close to the school rugby even commented that not having the extra two fixture commitments would have worked in their favour.
Comradery between Boishaai and Boland Landbou once again came to the fore. In an attempt to create an extra place so that both Boland Landbou and Boishaai could attend, Boishaai proposed to the organisers that they grow the festival from 10 to 11 overseas teams. This failed. Boishaai then made the conscientious decision to offer their place to Boland Landbou and the latter seemed willing to suggest that both schools play a single match at the WSF 2019. This did not come about.
The conclusion is that Boland Landbou will take part in the WSF 2019 and Boishaai will not.
Paarl Boys’ High Press Release: