If you can’t take the heat, maybe this kitchen is not for you

Schoolboy rugby coaches are feeling the pressure like never before and some of them buckling under that pressure.

Pro style coaches make up a good percentage of the total head coach / director of rugby compliment these days.

Unlike school teachers, they are often on fixed term contracts, usually in the region of just 3-years in length. Job security is far from guaranteed.

A lot of schools harp on about educational benefit but when push comes to shove, its the results on the scoreboard that often speak loudest, given the money being spent on the coaches and the players, the direct link made to marketing the school for future enrollment etc.

During contract renewal negotiations / termination meetings, even rankings sometimes matter.

Add to the increased exposure schoolboy rugby now enjoys via live-streaming broadcasts and the coach of a team that is under-performing is feeling the heat like never before.

So when factors outside their control, like perceived refereeing errors, result in losses, one can understand where the frustration is coming from, as at the end of the day, the “mistakes” have the potential to negatively influence livelihoods or even marketability for future employment elsewhere.

The pressures of being a schoolboy rugby coach cannot be compared to that a senior professional counterpart but to deny that there is huge pressure would be foolish. There are unique circumstances that make job of coaching schoolboys challenging.

Those coaches with shorter fuses are finding increasingly difficult to remain composed.

This past Saturday marked the second known instance this season where a 1st XV coach of a well-known school had to be asked by the referee basically remove himself from the side of the field to a place out of confrontational distance.

The question is, is this part of the evolution of a sport that is increasingly challenging the boundaries of where it belongs in the educational framework or is there a strong case to suggest that adults who cannot keep it together and maintain a reasonable standard of respectability, have no place serving in a capacity where they are responsible for moulding youngsters?

 

 

99 Comments

  1. I think the Grey model works well,the sppoint their head coach from within the personnel corps of the school,that way the coach know and understand the caracter and ethos of the school as well as the boys

    ReplyReply
  2. I think the stakes are getting too high and professionalism should be balanced with enjoyment of the game by the kids. The pendulum is swinging too far, and will have to come back.
    Fair enough, you enjoy rugby most when you play the game well due to great coaching. But the adults should be focused on what is best for the kids, not their egos or careers. That is a tough ask and will only be solved by true educators. Not coaches and agents and short-term school rugby lovers.

    ReplyReply
  3. I might have been at this particular game. Let me be clear. I do not condone negative comments or interference hurled at a referee or other parties from the sidelines. It is unprofessional, not in good taste and does not promote good sportsmanship. That being said… To provide a bit of background to the situation. The union referee was having casual chats with members of the 1st XV, coaching staff and parents of the opposing side before the match. He knew each player of that particular team by name especially during the match. He failed to bring two qualified AR’s to assist him during the match, thus opting to have a schoolboy AR “officiating” a 1st team level match. This alone is unacceptable from the union. Both sides lacked discipline during the game and obviously this resulted in tempers flaring at times. The incident involving the losing team’s coach stemmed from the referee calling a flat pass as being forward. Then, seconds later not calling a clear forward pass twice for the winning side. One of which resulting in a try and conversion. The losing team’s coach merely pointed out to the referee that the pass was forward. The referee went up to the coach with intent and displayed an enraged attitude towards the coach who merely pointed out a FACT. Now, I do not agree with the behaviour of either of the two parties. This should never happen. However, it is sometimes clear that union referees enjoy protection from the powers that be and do get away with poor performances that could have massive implications in the outcomes of important matches. Union referees are there to do a job and that job is to control a match without being biased. They are not there to fraternize with teams or anyone else at any time on match day. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the union to provide compitent AR’s for 1st team level matches. Why should schools be running around to help the referee out with unqualified AR’s that have affiliations with the schools? Unfortunately, these sort of situations will always report and even defend the actions of the referee, but not highlight the circumstances behind the incident. Results cannot be changed afterwards, but the onfield behaviour of key individuals still leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Unions need to step up and address reported incidents with their referees and schools should do the same with their relevant staff members. So be very careful before you judge. Know the facts first.

    ReplyReply
  4. @Chalkdust: just some facts. I have no idea what game or school you are talking about but….

    There is absolutley NOTHING wrong with a referee having chats with players or parents on the grandstand, or even knowing their names. What do you expect from them, they are human and follow school rugby just like us. I also know players from other schools, and coaches and always have chats before games. Unless the ref lives in Pretoria, affiliated by the Bulls but then drives to Durban each week to referee a school game on the R150 match fee he gets. Even if a referee is a teacher at a school he can still referee the match, he just needs to be fair (as far as his knowledge) he cant see everything.
    Even in Professional rugby the referee and players know each other, they have casual chats before, and after matches and even attend training sessions of the team they are going to referee.

    AR and referees are appointed by the Union, but coaches may ask for a spesific referee, and sometimes gets him. Depending on the level of the match, they get prioritised to appoint referees and AR from good to weaker at certain schools. You are NOT guaranteed AR for any matches. Imagine all the schools in WP play on Saturday with Grey/Paul Roos and Gim/Booishaai and BL/Oakdale and SACS/Bishops and Rondebosch/Wynberg, how the hell do you expect them to appoint all those matches with top class referees and AR.

    ReplyReply
  5. @kantako: i think a good idea ,and i know some schools do this, is to have a couple of teachers be qualified as refs ,that way you can at least ensure a qualified AR at first team level running the lines….

    ReplyReply
  6. @Smallies: agreed. In elke graad is daar n klein Jannie wat nie die rugbyspan maak nie, maar hy like rugby en al sy pelle speel. Laat die skool hom stuur vir n skeidsregters kursus en elke jaar hom verbeter. Imagine jy het van O/14 by elke span jou eie AR, en selfs by die B en C spanne n skeidsregter

    ReplyReply
  7. @kantako: dalk moet skole daarna begin kyk en die laaities beloon ,jy weet die game waarvoor ons almal so lief is kan nie sonder skeidregters nie ,en as mens hulle van vroeg af reg leer gaan dit op die einde n aanwins vir die hele land wees

    ReplyReply
  8. @Chalkdust: Well said – a very balanced an unbiased view point. I 100% agree that the facts should be known first, and I also accept that the ref, and AR’s are only human, and won’t see everything and are bound to miss certain calls. My concern, and has been for years, is what happens after the game? Are the refs held accountable for their performance? Is there any debrief by who-ever it is who oversees them? Are their ‘mistakes’ identified and discussed with a view to improving their performance and so creating a cycle of continuous improvement? If there is nothing happening at this level, then I’m afraid that ‘Houston, we have a problem’ and we will be subjected to poor quality officiating until this is addressed.
    I would be most interested for someone who might know more about this to shed some light on what actually happens ‘post game’. From what I’ve seen, some officials act with such impunity that they conduct themselves as if they are untouchable.

    ReplyReply
  9. @Steve K: your answer is yes and yes and yes.
    That is how they get graded, by a Union referee facilitator who comes to games and evaluates them. Each union has a elite panel of referees, ive seen them train together and analyse each others games.

    But NOTHING happens to them, there is no penalty or such for having a bad game (they just wont climb the ladder).

    Sorry to say this guys but without a referee there is no game. Yes some might think they are untouchable but you can only play the referee and control what you can. I have NEVER seen a player or coach talk to a referee, then the referee say, oh you are right, calls the other team and changes his decision.

    On the weekend Danie Rossouw talked about how Bryce cheated SA out of the world cup in his last game for the Boks. It happens.

    Then I have also never heard the winning team complain about the referee.

    ReplyReply
  10. We are very lucky to have official referees at almost every game played on a Saturday. Last Saturday and against Bishops all the games (even u19G) had an official ref. Not every game had official AR’s, but the “main” games had.
    All ref’s make mistakes, and hopefully those mistakes don’t have an influence on the result, but I also would like to know what happens after?
    Like I have said before, it is not a job I want to do, because nobody will ever be happy with you, but we all just want a fair game.

    ReplyReply
  11. Die skole rugby gaan al hoe meer professional raak agv die TV blootstelling. Daar gaan reels neergele moet word om voorsiening te maak vir alle voorvalle. Groeipyne is te verwagte.

    ReplyReply
  12. @OomPB: My persoonlike opinie is dat soos genoem, die pendulum te veel geswaia het na die verkeerde kant.
    Druk en die wen ten alle koste is ongesond vir kinders.

    ReplyReply
  13. @JongMatie: Daai wen druk was nog altyd daar. Die verskil nou is dat skole rugby baie meer TV blootstelling gaan kry. Vanaf Junie is dit al rugby behalwe die Springbokke wat aan is. URC en CC eindig in Junie. Skole rugby gaan groot geld raak.

    ReplyReply
  14. @JongMatie: Nie die primรชre doel van skole nie, maar vir jare al ‘n integrale deel van skoollewe in SA. Ekself het in 1976 matriek gedoen en by reunies word nou nog gepraat met passie en nostalgie oor daardie dag toe ons(van ‘n beskeie skool) een van die heel bestes geklop het.
    Die gehalte van die rugby wat ek die laaste paar weke kon sien van Paarl Gim,Paul Roos,Grey,Oakdale,Boland Landbou,Garsfontein,Bishops etc. etc, is verstommend goed. SA Rugby het verder beter as ander sportkodes daarin geslaag om talent uit alle dele van die land,te ontgin.
    Die produk is bemarkbaar. Dis kwaliteit en daarom meer TV blootstelling en enorme skares by groot wedstryde.
    Die toekoms van koning rugby is blink.
    Dat balans gehou moet word,is wel so. Dat foute,ook deur skeidsregters,gemaak word,is ook waar.
    MAAR: Skole rugby is myns insiens ‘n helder lig van uitnemendheid midde in ‘n moeras van negatiewe nuus.
    Ek is onbeskaamd fanaties oor die produk. Maak nie saak wie speel nie.

    ReplyReply
  15. @JongMatie: Glad nie maar dit gaan ook nie verander nie. Dis in ons kultuur. Skole speel alle sports teen mekaar en als eindig met die hoof rugby wedstryd.

    ReplyReply
  16. @Gemini: tel my in. Ouers is bevoorreg om te kan lynloop. Nou kan ek hier by die huis van u14 tot u18 dophou met goutvoet en al.

    ReplyReply
  17. @kantako: Thanks for the insight. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing but respect for the man in the middle – its not a job I would want, so I am very gratefull for them. But for the love of the game, and for the progression of the game and for the enjoyment for the boys, there needs to be a system that favours the advancement of good referees, an that hopefully weeds out the not so good ones, which from what you are saying does happen. I would assume you are refering to KZN in your comments?
    I’m going to throw something else out there now…With the involvement of Supersport Schools coverage of games and the high quality of camera work and instant replay availability, should a TMO involvement be a consideration at some point now that the tech is available?

    ReplyReply
  18. Rugby as loopbaan is deesdae ‘n werklikheid.

    Die “amateur eet lemoene halftyd en smeer Deep Heat vir alles” benadering is lankal dood.

    ReplyReply
  19. @kantako: It was the Menlopark vs Helpmekaar game. I can’t vouch for this, but someone at the match said the referee asked the coach to leave following something the coach said to him.

    ReplyReply
  20. @JongMatie: Ek stem volkome met jou saam.
    Ek is ook van die opinie dat die huidige stand van die kompeterende omgewing wat skoolseuns hulself in bevind nie in ewewig is met die gesonde balans wat gehandhaaf moet word nie.

    ReplyReply
  21. @Chalkdust: I really can live with forward passes and missed knock – on’s. Obviously you do get refs that are biased or at least seem to make errors the help one team more than another. But again I can live with that. My real concern is when refs don’t deal with things that can lead to major injuries. So collapsing scrums/ high tackles/ swinging arms/ players diving off their feet like guided missiles aimed at opponents at ruck time these are the things that I want referee’s to police and to police strictly. I sometimes look at a massive disparity between two teams at scrum time and think surely the ref needs to suggest uncontested scrums for the sake of the kids safety. Referees first concern should be the health of the kids that they are in charge of.

    ReplyReply
  22. Gepraat van skeidsregters. Die ouers moet hul kinders aanmoedig om kursusse te doen. Ek ken n paar ouers hier wat se seuns graag by rugby betrokke wil wees maar wat as spelers dit nie sal maak nie. Dus stuur hulle die seuns na skeidsregterskursusse toe. Hier is n paar seuns wat nou al laerskool wedstryde blaas. Nou kom daai “refs” lekker deur die ranks.
    Ander punt wat ek sommer wil noem is oor n skeidsregter hier van my wereld wat in die Varsity Cup geblaas het. Die skrummies vat mos hul tyd agter die losskrums, al sรช die ref “use it” Hierdie ou het gedurende n Varsity game vir n skrummie gesรช “use it” en toe tel hy 3, 2, 1 en toe blaas hy sy fluitjie omdat die skrummie nog niks gedoen het nie. Ek wens meer skeidsregters wil dit doen.

    ReplyReply
  23. @NealW: Whilst we are talking about rules and refs, can we PLEASE get rid of the rolling maul rule.
    Its a DISGRACE to this beautiful game of ours..

    ReplyReply
  24. @NealW: I fully agree with you. The boys’ safety is the most important and the rules around that should be the focus.

    ReplyReply
  25. @NealW: I unfortunately have to disagree about the scrums. My bugbear is dominant scrums being penalized, as often happens if it goes past 1.5m. A bit like calling for uncontested line outs if one team has short players, if you think about it. Yes, safety is important, but it is still a contact sport

    ReplyReply
  26. @Strepie: I agree. It stifles skills and red-zone attack development. Also seems to be the tool of choice for the top coaches and schools the past decade. Suppose itโ€™s the only way for some to get the W and thatโ€™s what counts for the marketing and rankings. Not SBR in my book though and will always view those teams and coaches as boring, unskilled and devoid of creativity

    ReplyReply
  27. @Ploegskaar: The powers that be have a knack of spending endless time on changing the most irrelevant of rules of the game, only to let much more important rules ie. rucks and mauls fall by the way side.

    Maybe they too are also just too incompetent.

    ReplyReply
  28. @Djou: swak voorbeeld van n coach. Sorry ek het nie detail nie maar dis nie n voorbeeld nie. Hoe negatief coach hy dan

    ReplyReply
  29. @Maskerman: Ek verstaan dit gewis, maar dis wettige obstruksie en teen die gees van rugby en veral skolerugby, in my beskeie opinie. In 2013 moes ek sit en kyk hoe โ€˜n moerse goeie Gim span 5 of 6 maul drieรซ teen Boland druk. Goeie 49-0 wen gewees, maar met die talent wat in daai span was, sou hulle 60 opgesit het, as hulle toegelaat is om te jol. Dit was die verveligste game wat ek ooit gekyk het

    ReplyReply
  30. @Maskerman: …..as jy maar net weet hoeveel obstruksie in n rolmaal ingaan, tensy jy my kan se hoe om by die baldraer wat heel agter aan die treintjie haak en glimlag vir die 7 spelers voor hom, van sy eie span, en 8 spelers van die ander span.

    ReplyReply
  31. @JongMatie: daar is maniere om te verdedig teen n maul dit verg egter net so baie oefening ,maklikste is om die maul te sack sodra dit vorm,ander een is natuurlik om glad nie te commit tot die maul nie en laaste is die counter drive wat die moeilikste is

    ReplyReply
  32. @Maskerman: Die HEEL maklikste is, daar mag nie n stituasie enigsins, ooit op n rugbyveld ontstaan wat ek, as verdediger, nie by die baldraer kan uitkom of direk kontak mee kan maak nie.

    ReplyReply
  33. Ek is geneig om met JongMatie saam te stem.
    Hy het n punt beet, en dit is n absurde reel in die rugby handleiding.

    ReplyReply
  34. PRG het Saterdag lelik pak gekry met die maul. Daar is net geen manier hoe hulle daai groot Gim pak wettig kon stop naby die doellyn nie. Om die maul te sack, moet jou timing perfek wees. Dit is nou maar deel van rugby en klaar. As ek dit nie mis het nie, het hulle mos hier in Superrugby dit vir ‘n jaar probeer stop, maar die noordelike halfrond wou net nie byt daaraan nie. @Ploegskaar: Ek stem saam met jou. Dis vervelig om na te kyk en as die een span ‘n dominante groot pak het, kan jy niks doen nie.

    ReplyReply
  35. @PRondersteuner: Dieselfde teen Noordheuwel die naweek. NH twee drieรซ gedruk met rolmaal. Hulle doen dit ongelooflik goed. Mens kan sien dat hulle baie tyd insit om dit reg te doen.

    ReplyReply
  36. @Ploegskaar: What is learnt by the scrum weighing 800kg vs a scrum weighing 600kg. Nothing. This scenario usually leads to a dangerous collapsed scrum. The 1,5m rule is there to ensure your backline plays on the front foot not to endanger the lives of the smaller team. Too many times refs are allowing scrums to go back a lot more than 1,5m and usually in chaos. The rule is a good one it should be enforced.

    ReplyReply
  37. When you take the school master out of school rugby you simply end up with RUGBY! Remember rugby was invented by school boys best played by school boys and in my opinion at its very best when coached by school teachers! Need I quote historic examples? Basil Bay, Skonk Nicholson, Jake White, Sean Erasmus, Norman MacFarlane etc etc

    ReplyReply
  38. @NealW: I am sorry, but we just disagree on this one. Rugby is a contact sport and dominance is and should be rewarded, be it on attack or defense. There should be no place in rugby for a handicap system in any facet of play. But, thatโ€™s just my humble opinion

    ReplyReply
  39. @deecee: And what about the schools not coached by teachers doing well e.g. Pieter Rossouw, Ryno vd Merwe, Corne Uys, Hendre Marnitz, etc, etc.
    And what about the schools coached by teachers not performing well – I will not name them here.
    Point is, if you name schools coached by teachers or ex teachers doing well, you must compare them against schools also coached by teachers and ex teachers not doing well and against schools coached by non teachers doing well – before you can draw a meaningful conclusion.
    But I agree, if you have a coach who can,’t work with schoolboys or referees at school level, it is better for them to resign and give up the money – to the benefit of the school.

    ReplyReply
  40. @Djou: well said. Skole rugby is nou meer profesioneel as Curriebeker en borge ondersteun skole wat perform. Niemand verkoop hotdogs by n skaaktoernooi nie maar wel 100de by n rugby game. Dis maar realiteit. Geld maak geld.

    ReplyReply
  41. @NealW: @Ploegskaar: On the topic of scrumming, I had some interesting input from someone who also watched the Gim-Roos match. The battle in the frontrow between Gim’s Jean Fourie and PRG’s Reno Hirst, really seemed to all be going Fourie’s way.

    The feedback I got was maybe not news to the guys like you who know your stuff but I will share nonetheless.

    Often the THs are massive units scrumming against shorter players, so if they don’t get the bind right, they are in for a tough day at the office. Also it’s easier for the LH to scrum up a little than for the TH to scrum down.

    ReplyReply
  42. @beet: your best tightheads tend to be shorter guys ,take a look at Hairbaer from Wales, WP Nel, Frans Malherbe,all on the short side,and their is a reason for that ,Myself is only 1.76m I played tighthead or hooker my whole life ,Short tighthead low scrum ….

    ReplyReply
  43. @Rainier:
    Verskoon hulle maar
    Hier is n paar brekers wat dink hulle weet iets
    Kinders het bietjie op skool gespeel en nou is die pappies eksperte

    ReplyReply
  44. @Rainier: Korrek,
    Fransman is nie kort nie, lang rug, lang arms, kan ver bind – dit maak hom bitter goed.
    Basies die anker tot die bokspan.

    ReplyReply
  45. @Strepie: Ek maak dit altyd maklik vir mense.

    Vaskop – sterk skouers
    Loskop – sterk nek

    En ‘n lang 3 gee jou automaties effens van ‘n regter skouer.

    Flippie was my gunsteling 3 en Domkrag my gunsteling 1.

    ReplyReply
  46. @Rainier:
    Ek het nou begin ingels praat
    Hoop die Vrystaters verstaan my nie
    Ek weet jy was op Grey, verstaan so bietjie
    :wink:

    ReplyReply
  47. @Mate: ai AndreT. Jy was seker die hoof dirigent op die pawiljoen wat die meeste getroll het met die teenstander ondersteuners.

    ReplyReply
  48. Hillarious video doing the rounds.
    Referee penelising a schoolboy for shouting “Jou ma se p…”

    ReplyReply
  49. @Djou: I don’t think he was comparing performances. He merely listed some well known teacher coaches.

    In my opinion.,once a coach is there to pay his bond, it changes the dynamics. Educational value falls away easily and it becomes all about performance and w inning. Schoolboy rugby has always been about bragging rights between boys. Now boys have to win to sustain an adult’s livelihood. Can’t be right.

    ReplyReply
  50. @Playa: I fully agree with your view.
    However, it is clear to me that it is a minority of schools who would do anything to win.
    In most cases everyone is passionate to give and show their best – and improve their skills.
    This is very evident from how the boys and coaches interact after a match, no matter the result.
    I said before, a school coach should and can make a career out of it – and not regularly jump around to where the big bucks are. Yes, they can move between schools to take a step up (promotion), but simply doing the job for money is never a sustainable solution for a school.
    But again, the minority should not be assumed to be representative of all schools.

    ReplyReply
  51. @Djou: One of the saddest things to see is water men and coaches yelling and coaching from the side whilst the game is played.

    ReplyReply
  52. @Djou: Dis nie ‘n verrassing nie, het daai gesegde baie gehoor toe ek vir Wellington klub rugby gespeel het.

    ReplyReply
  53. @Rainier: Daar was n pel van ons in die Strand genaamd Kobus Kirsten. Moer sterk gewees. En hyt nie eintlik van oefen gehou nie. Hyt vir Jan Lock geskrum dat hy nie geweet het of hy kom of gaan nie. Fooitog, nou is albei ook al weg. Tommy Loubser was darem self solid.

    ReplyReply
  54. @Gimnasias: Ja, Kobus was onmenslik sterk. Almal het geknor teen hom.
    Ja, so gaan die lewe verby, maar ons dra gelukkig al die herhinneringe saam.

    ReplyReply
  55. @Gimnasias: Kobus het baie daarvan gehou om die Matie voorrye te “leer”. Die klomp studente het mos gedink hulle weet alles. Dan het Kobus net gesรช:”Boetie, ons gaan nou nie mekaar vandag seermaak nie, nรช”. Hulle wou gewoonlik nie luister nie. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

    ReplyReply
  56. Kobus het jou hier om jou middellyf se vet gegryp met die engage
    Jy was pers vir dae na n game

    ReplyReply
  57. @Playa: @Djou: I wonder if a solution would be to award pro coaches longer term contracts. If the coach has 5-6 at the helm, the job security would surely alleviate part of the anxiety.

    ReplyReply
  58. @beet:
    I think for the majority it will work. I am a big proponent of long-term contracts (for coaches and professional players).
    Thing is, however, some of them got long-term contracts – but other schools with big bucks bought them out, and it is of no use to keep a coach if he wants to leave.
    But then you also learn who is in it just “for the money”.

    ReplyReply
  59. @beet: it could work. But the buy-out clause would need to be tight. But as Djou pointed out, no one wants to keep someone who wants to leave. Long term contracts would certainly be a step in the right direction though.

    ReplyReply
  60. @Playa: @Djou: The motive of the longer term would be to offer greater job security, not to restrict a coach from resigning and leaving before the term is up.

    ReplyReply
  61. @Mate: As Kobus regtig alles gegee het vir sy rugby sou hy ver gekom het. Ek sal nou nie in besonderhede ingaan nie, soos die manne sรช dit bly tussen pelle. Hy was yster.

    ReplyReply
  62. Kobus het my een aand in Pebbles amper gebliksem…ek het per ongeluk n glas rooiwyn op sy vrou/meisie uitgegooi..was dit nie vir n local vriend van Strand wat hom geken het nie was ek nie vandag hier nie!!

    ReplyReply
  63. @Mate: Saam met hom vir Strand Somerset Wes. Hyt was self n riller. Vir niemand terug gestaan nie.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply