On Tuesday, 22 October Dale College’s Craven Week centre Somila Jho completed his transfer from the Dale College, the Border powerhouse school in King William’s Town to Kingswood College in Grahamstown. The move was made possible by the Eastern Province Kings. As a Grade-12 student next year, Jho was expected to be a key player in the Dale 1st XV under returning legendary scho0l head coach Griffy Griffiths. Jho will however be under-19 in 2014 and therefore ineligible for Craven Week reselection. The player loss is a setback for Dale and there is constant talk of other star players at the school being approached by other schools in co-ordination with provincial rugby unions.
The Kings offer comes with the opportunity to play Currie Cup under-19 A-division rugby against most of the best players Jho’s own age next season, while he is still in matric. In order to take advantage, Jho simply had to be much closer to the Kings home base in Port Elizabeth. Under-19 junior provincial rugby represents the next step up for aspiring schoolboy rugby players who are considering making a career out of the sport.
The conflict of interests between schools and provincial unions seems to be playing itself out more often in the Border region these days than in any other part of South Africa.
In 2012, Border Rugby Union refused to select several talented school players who fulfilled all requirements and had the earned right to go to Craven Week along with the Border under-18 team simply because these boys had signed contracts with other unions for rugby after school.
For this season Queens College lost the services of their SA HP 2012 under-16 lock Aston Fortuin after the Bulls had made an approached and helped relocate him to a school in Pretoria where he could be eligible for one of their under-18 provincial week teams and hsimultaneously help fulfil a quota requirement.