Durban High School’s primary school player funding scheme has reared its head again with controversial consequences.
Last Saturday DHS invoked their KZN Headmaster’s Agreement right to prevent a 13-year old primary school player from representing the Maritzburg College in an u14A match against them.
DHS were not happy for him to play and now people at College are not happy. It is bound to harm the relationship between the two schools in some form or another.
The player who is under-14 this year, hails from the Border region and transferred to a primary school in Pietermaritzburg. His parents have committed to enrolling him at Maritzburg College for grade-8 in 2023.
Due to the age-banding rules in schoolboy rugby, a boy turning 14 in primary school may not represent his primary school at rugby. He is not even permitted to attend rugby practices on school grounds with his schoolmates.
The KZN agreement allows for kids who fall into this unfortunate under-14 in primary school bracket to represent the high school they intend joining, provided the opposing school’s headmaster consents to the participation ahead of an inter-schools match.
At some point in the past, the youngster’s parent/s must accepted financial assistance from DHS and in turn the child was expected to enroll there for grade-8. You’d think a parent/guardian who accepted and understood reason for the funding would be grateful and honour the arrangement but in this case there had to have been a change of heart, probably due to receiving a better offer from Maritzburg College.
Obviously there are many winner-winner instances where kids lives have been changed for the better through rugby recruitment but there are also times when it feels like those of colour from financially underprivileged homes are just commodities in business transactions.
The decision made appears to be contrary to the spirit of school sport within the educational framework. This minor should have been given permission to play. Instead he has been treated as if he is guilty of a wrongdoing! It seems like he was punished to prove a point after a transaction gone wrong with his guardian.
A few years ago, DHS had a major fallout with Glenwood. Escalating the tension was the latter (and other KZN high schools for that matter) deciding to ignore DHS’ attempts to financial bookmark primary school boys. DHS ended up suspending rugby relationships with Glenwood and it is noted that there isn’t a Horseflies versus Grasshoppers match on the rugby fixture list this season.