Covid related trouble looms for school sport in Gauteng

The Beeld newspaper warns of possible trouble for school sports in Gauteng in their Saturday 08 May edition.A number of Gauteng’s prominent rugby schools were ruled out of action in recent weeks due to Covid outbreaks amongst their students and in some cases staff.

The article references the Chairperson of the Advisory Council on COVID-19 in Gauteng, who is concerned that school sport may be responsible for spreading the virus at an increasing rate. She mentions that not helping is that many kids are asymptomatic, so they carry the virus without being aware of it. It goes on to say that a big different to professional senior sport is the ability of the latter to create isolation bubbles, something that cannot be done at school level.

Although the chairperson is quoted as saying she cannot stop school sport, she does report to or liaise with departments of local government that do have a big say in what transpires.

A worst case scenario for school sports in Gauteng is the total suspension of all activities, possibly as early as this coming weekend.

An in-between measure might be the suspension of inter-provincial school sports. The Gauteng DBE has been quite strict in this regard. The schoolboy rugby known is the disallowing of rugby schools from the province to travel to Mpumalanga. This restriction might now extend to preventing schools from hosting out of province schools as well. That would mean a big inter-schools derby like that of Affies versus Grey College would be off (postponement date: Wed 12 May 2021).

Going forward, schools around the country may want to consider lobbying for regional bubbles, which would see them only playing a select number of other schools in close proximity to themselves, twice or more if need be, to complete a season. This kind of arrangement may only work for city schools though and would therefore be quite a blow to country schools.

40 Comments

  1. If the situation in the last paragraph materialise then the town of Middelburg might get their derby again. Although, as much as I would like to see the derby happening, I would prefer to see a complete VB season.

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  2. They must not make hastily decisions now. This can seriously damage schoolboy rugby and rugby in total in south africa in the foreseeable future. While other countries like NZ and Australia now playing with full stadiums and the virus basically has no impact there,south africa is running further behind.

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  3. If this materialises, Ben Vorster’s season is practically over as they’ve already played about the only school in Limpopo who is prepared to face them, Pietersburg HS, with the possible exception of Frikkie Meyer from Thabazimbi.

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  4. @jakes: The situation is very different in Aus and NZ, as they have virtually no Covid cases. Two weeks ago there was one +ve case in Perth and the city immediately went into total lockdown to prevent further spread – their measures are a lot harsher than ours.

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  5. @tzavosky: Ons het ook nie veel meer opsies as Nelspruit en HTS Middelburg nie, maar miskien sal skole soos Secunda, Ligbron en Witbank Tech ook wedstryde soek.
    Maar soos reeds gesê ons sien baie daarna uit om julle weer in Middelburg te sien, so ek hoop nie hulle stop die skolerugby nie.

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  6. South Africa is very privileged to have any school boy rugby at this stage. There will be a time soon rather than later when we leave level 1 and sport is on the back burner.

    Personally outside of keeping parents out, schools have been poor at stopping extras from being at games.

    We should not be having school kids doing war cries in stands

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  7. @Running_Rugby1861: so where must the boys who travelled 100,s of km by bus go? Must they sit INSIDE the busses where there are no social distance or on the stands where there are much more space available…..

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  8. The virus spread whether we play or not.

    By this time we know who is at risk and that needs to be managed.

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  9. @Smallies: that’s an easy one. After your age grouphas Finnish playing then you all pack up and start traveling back.

    Yes it’s only natural to support your 1st XV but regulations are there to protect us all, only the 1st team reserves should be watching on the side.

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  10. @Running_Rugby1861: its ok to have played an intensely physical rugby match against people you don’t know, its ok to have tackled rucked and mauled aganst them ,it’s ok to have spit and sweat and heavy breathing within inches of each other with each others, but is deadly to sit meters apart from each other on the stands wher there is fresh air and space ???

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  11. @AbsolutMenlo: exactly….I read a quote about six months ago that realy puts a lot of perspective on this whole issue ,it go’s like this
    Never have I seen so many people so scared of dying that they are willing to completely stop living…

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  12. @Smallies: it’s the same thing I ask when a professional player gets subbed and on goes the mask. But unfortunately we don’t make the rules but as far as possible try and stick by them.

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  13. @Running_Rugby1861: You can’t run a bus for each age group. The cost is just do high. So you will have scholars waiting while their bus partners finish their games. Why can’t they support the playing teams while they wait?

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  14. @Middies pa: jy moet onthou die reels is opgestel deur due selde mense wat die verkoop van wintersklere verbied het net voor die winter begin het verlede jaar ,die selfde mense wat reken dis veilg in n beknopte taxi maar dodelik gevaarlik op n strand….als verlede jaar se reels

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  15. @Smallies: lockdown ended in June 2020 when we went out of level 5. Majority are following the few rules that are still in place but one can never be too careful.

    I’m just very happy that we have a few rugby games on the go at
    this stage.

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  16. @Running_Rugby1861: lockdown hasn’t ended mate ,as long as we live under these rules and regulations we are under lockdown ,it might be relaxed but its not finished, only when the state of disaster is lifted will we be free again do live our lives normally …..and that wont happen in the next 3-5 years I promise you that ,our government loves the power to much.

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  17. Affies vs Grey College – Postponed till later in there year.

    Not sure if it’s off because Education department did not give permission in Gauteng or because traveling with 600+ kids is too risky, what ever the reason was, safety first is best.

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  18. Ons verneem dat die “Forum van skoolhoofde in die ooste van Pretoria” besluit het hulle speel nie rugby hierdie naweek nie. Hulle “kenners” se Covid is te gevaarlik. Dit is interessant dat dit toevallig dieselfde naweek is wat Grey moes oorkant Loftus speel en die Garsie Bere moes die N14 na die Wesrand vat.

    Vroeer het hulle onregverdige voorbereiding blameer, nou lyk dit of hulle agter Covid wegkruip…

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  19. Affies have also cancelled their interschools against Jeppe set for 22/05/2021.

    Affies vs Grey is a massive interschools day. Apart from other sport, maybe the most rugby matches played between two schools on one weekend now. Not something to cancel without careful consideration and knowledge that quite a bit of pressure/criticism of kinds will stem from it.

    The news is lousy for Grey I’m sure. Grey hosts Oakdale next week. It might be a good thing for the W/Cape that Grey does not go to Pretoria, as it should hopefully reduce changes of transferring Covid. Oakdale plays Durbanville after Grey.

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  20. @VaskopVleuel: Brother, people like you need education, lots thereof. People are dying. Teachers in these schools are dying.
    And you intimate that these decisions are taken based on being scared. Wow!!!!
    I have seen the impact of COVID first hand. It is not nice!!!
    Hope COVID doesn’t visit you or your family!
    Stay safe!!!

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  21. @Chronicle: I never made a claim that the virus is not dangerous. I have lost a close friend to it during 2020.

    What I said is fishy is the timing of the cancelation. Waterkloof had a massive outbreak, large enough to force the DBE to close them down for a week. But they played on the first possible weekend they were allowed. Three days later they feel the need to stop playing again after one match?

    Affies had enough confidence in their protocols to host a national tournament with about 30 different school teams (U19 A&B sides) playing a mere 10 days ago. Most of these sides staying in their hostels.

    Garsfontein and Menlo took part in all these tournaments without a care in the world.

    Most of the supporters of these schools claimed the DBE and SASRA had been over-cautious with the 10 week pre-season and return to play protocols.

    In my opinion, some these schools would have not been so keen to stop all sports if they had different fixtures.

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  22. @VaskopVleuel: The fixtures got nothing to do with the decision, it was a collective decision by 14 schools in the east of Pretoria, including Menlo and Waterkloof who would have played each other this weekend. The principal of Waterkloof explained the decision in a video on facebook.

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  23. @VaskopVleuel: Your opinion is to say the least totally uninformed.
    If you really believe it, then you have a life of milk and honey.
    Maybe acquaint yourself of the situation on the ground, find out about the number of learners in schools with COVID-19, and then write something.
    I presume Selborne is also now scared because they withdrew agaist Grey, in your opinion.
    And in your opinion, then, schools withdraw because they are scared of losing and use COVID-19 as excuse. Yet, they just played matches where they suffered heavy losses, which blows your argument to pieces.
    I agree with Asterix. Go watch the video and then apologise to the boys.

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  24. @Chronicle: ek is wat die Amerikaners noem n covid denier, ek glo die siekte is real maar dat die drama rondom dit totaal en al te veel van n hysteria shitshow is ……however dit is elke persoon se reg en ook dan elke skool se reg om besluite te neem wat in die beste belang van die kinders en meer belangrik die onderwysers is ,dit is immers baie van die onnies wat in die risiko klasifikasie val…So as n skool besluit dat dit nie veilig volgens hulle is nie ,dan moet ons daardie besluit respekteer ,maak nie saak wat ons persoonlike opinie rondom dit is nie.

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  25. @VaskopVleuel: dit is die ergste belediging wat jy vir die spelers kan gee. Die seuns (en my oudste is een van hulle wat gelukkig was om sy skool se eerste span kon verteenwoordig) het hulle gatte af gewerk en is bereid om all-comers te face. Maak nie saak wie nie. As jy so baie belé het in die prosesse om tot op die punt te kom en die geleenthede word een vir een van jou weggeneem sal jy liederlik die moer in raak as iemand die kak praat wat jy nou kwyt raak. (Spreek my aan en kyk of ek n moer omgee) Jy is arrogante opinionated asshole

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  26. @BlouLou: 100% agree with you. He is very much in the same mould as Boerboel and does not have a clue about the sacrifices made by the boys and the disappointment of not being able to play, win or lose.

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  27. VV’s comment was perhaps made without knowing all the facts behind the decision to cancel matches due to Covid but I don’t think it was aimed at the rugby boys in the teams. He was questioning the school decision-makers = adults.

    School heads have to tread so carefully at the moment. In these times of uncertainly they are breaking new ground. They might have many years of experience as educators under the belt but now they are writing the textbook for those who will follow in their footsteps and maybe encounter a similar crisis one day. In spite of the inexperience, the headmasters know chances are good they will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

    We have discussed quite a few controversial decisions to withdraw from fixtures in the past. In all cases questions were asked of the adults running the show and often acknowledged that the rugby boys wanted to play their rivals regardless of differences between the adults (often incorporating management, coaches, old boys and parents). In quite a few cases on-field opponents happen to be their mates off the field – something that is often harder to associate with adults from opposing schools.

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  28. @beet: I respectfully have to disagree with you. What you are saying then is let us all just make wild and uninformed statements here and bash schools and players alike. And afterwards claim ignorance. A free for all with no regard for the rules. That is the problem with society.
    Or am I wrong?

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  29. @Chronicle: No, what I was saying is he did not bring the kids into it, yet you insist on referencing it as if he accused the rugby boys of not wanting to play.

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  30. @beet: The kids are part of the school, as are the headmasters.
    He clearly insinuated the schools are scared of losing, which according to me, includes everyone.
    But I get it, you want to defend him based on him being uninformed and therefore he can make uninformed statements about schools, which in effect boils down to fake news.

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