DHS primary school bursary woes continue

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.


  1. DHS are known for this.

    They pay for boys to go to a primary school and then make them go to DHS. A few years ago DHS decided to cut ties with Glenwood because of this reason. There were three boys who went to DHS for the first week and did not like it so they went to Glenwood, thats why there is not a game between the two schools.

    Funny enough, they have accepted one of the boys back into DHS at the beginning of this year after the boy had disciplinary issues at Glenwood.

  2. The word that comes to mind is HYPOCRITES…
    1 – DHS had boys on scholarship at a Glenwood Prep that was u14 and played for the DHS 14A team. This was roughly 2 years ago.
    2 – DHS only follows the Headmaster’s Agreement if it is in their favor.

  3. @Pamos. No DHS doesn’t “make” them go to DHS. If that were the case those boys would not have been able to choose to Glenwood. DHS provided financial aid to the family with the “agreement” that the boys would attend DHS. That agreement was not withheld and the boys chose to attend Glenwood instead.

  4. The same story just keeps repeating itself. No lessons learned during covid? It would appear that the present leadership at DHS are simply copying and pasting what they previously did when they were on the Bluff! What concerns me most is the complicity of the relevant prep schools and their sgbs. What is even scarier is that a public entity can sponsor boys at primary schools in the first place. There must be a myriad of financial rules being broken along the way whilst the actual welfare of these young boys is not even remotely considered. In my opinion all parties should be reported for child abuse and child trafficking. Shame on them all.

  5. Justice!! They (Northwood as well) keep on shopping in the Eastern Cape (Uitenhage)and if it doesn’t work out, they move on to the next target. #kryvanjoueiemedisyne👍

  6. @Palma: no they’re not. Glenwood offered to play with zero conditions attached but unfortunately DHS stuck to their condition that the boys that had left (originally three, now down to two) can NEVER play against DHS for the whole of their high school career. Glenwood felt this was extreme and unfair on the boys as the Glenwood/DHS game is usually a highlight.

  7. @ICEMAN: It is not just in the EC. Both of them “recruited” some of our u/15 boys at the Noord-Suid. I understand u/13 recruitment, but to take boys from an established team is still unfair to me. Just my opinion.

  8. Personally I think perants should honor the commitments they made ,irrespective of what their kids want,I also feel its wrong to reqruit kids earlier than end of grade 7

  9. Guys, I dont mean to be the sour grape but, it is what it is, deal with it and carry on. EVERYONE is recruiting, at least the top 50 schools. Thats why they all have a Director of Rugby or n Oom Jonny or whatever they call themselves. And if this guy wants to keep his job, he needs to win. It is very hard to win against a team who has recruited well. Even if a top school only has 4 new recruits in his team, that might not seem like a lot but that means that he has 4 regular A team players, now on the bench… and that might make the difference. If you dont recruit, you wont win. If you do recruit, then you are in “THE GAME” and then have no right to bitch and moan about recruitment. There is no LEVEL of recruitment. If you recruit 1 player or give a scholarship at U/6 level to 1 player, then it means you accept the fact that the gloves are off, you are now responsible to keep your players happy, give them top coaching, and give them exposure, and guess what, even then you are not guaranteed that a player will stay in your school. If a school has 1 player in the school on a bursary/scholarship/financial help etc, then that school has to accept that teams they play against will have recruits, and that any kid in his school might get poached, there is no rule for recruiting at a certain age. If a Principal then takes a No Buying policy, then so be it he will quickly see the school dropping out of the top 50. So many times I have heard the Principal say “we are not a rugby school, we are a balanced school” blah blah blah. Rugby is the biggest marketing in South African schools and we know it. Fathers send their daughters to rugby schools, and then often the school picks up on Netball, and Hockey, and Athletics as well. Show me a Top 50 school where any other sport has a bigger budget than rugby.

    Lets look at some schools. (This is only my knowledge and I dont have all the facts)
    – Garsfontein beats Affies, who beat Gim, and everyone hails Garsfontein. But for the last 10 years they have been know as the school with the biggest poaching/recruiting budget. Even galled Gapsfontein or Capefontein.
    Garsfontein never recruited. In 2011 ish they got a massive hiding from Waterkloof, and then the SGB decided enough is enough. 2012/2013 was that team of young Ackerman and Hyron etc, then followed Papier and his friends, to a stage where in 2019 they had 5 SA SCHOOLS PLAYERS in the team. Not Cravenweek but 33% of the team was SA Schools palyers.
    – Monnas brag about a French international Paul Willemse, was he not in Namibia till his final year of school ?
    – Waterkloof, cancelled all scholarships in about 2017, what have they done, recruited a Head of sport who is SA schools coach, Director of rugby, amd a first team coach. That is 3 massive payroll hits for rugby, but look how well they have picked up. I remember this grade 12 group currently in Kloof, I think as U/14 and U/15 they finished bottom of Virsekerbeker. Same players ???
    -Welkom Gim, for a few years 2017-2019 they were pretty unstopable, in 2020 they gave Helpmekaar (who recruits the whole Gauteng) a 50.
    – Grey/Grey I remember seeing Jan Serfontein play for Grey, then later play for the other Grey.
    -EGJ untouchable in the Valke, when Covid hit, the Brakpan kids stayed in Brakpan and now EGJ is struggling to win a game, mean while Die Anker has improved a lot, and even Kempton (who in 2012) won the Virsekerbeker is managing a win againt Eldoraigne.
    – Paarl Gim dont give any scholarships, I think then I am privileged that my son must have been the only one who didnt pay school or boarding fees.

    All is fair in love and war.

  10. I agree , there is little chance for a school that wants to be able to remain competitive in the SA schoolboy scene if they don’t recruit/entice whatever you want to call it , perhaps there should be some sort of limit placed etc but difficult to manage or control and let’s be honest it has been going on in some form or another for a good few decades now just more blatant now , I went to school in KZN in the nineties and for example I clearly remember boys leaving DHS to go to Kearsney for Cricket and waterpolo in std 7/8 and then DHS doing the same to other boys in other schools at the same time , I mention this not to blame DHS or Kearsney but as an example, there are numerous other instances I am aware of and involving other schools from before that time and afterwards as well and also involving other areas of the country.

  11. @brum: fully agree mate. It has been around for ages, and it is good for the sport and for the players. Yes off course not all players will get professional contracts, but lets be honest, these Top 50 rugby schools we talk about also give those players (especially the ones from poor backgrounds) a lot of benefits, decent bed to sleep in each night, protection, good teachers in classroom, decent food everyday, exposure to school spirit during athletics and school fun days like Valentines or Carnivals etc etc. What a great experience that our sport has opened up to so many players. Good on schools that recruit and may that forever grow. The more competitive it gets the more demand for Rugby and more jobs for coaches etc.

    I am just fed up with these schools claiming that their players are approached at Grant Khomo or grade 11 etc etc, and saying it is not fair, we wont play that school.Its like expecting a Lion not to eat you because you dont eat Lions.

  12. The schools with the big sponsor budgets recruits the best players. Those without bursaries fight a unbalanced battle against those with the budget to keep their players.the biggest culprits are DHS ,Garsfontein
    and Glenwood. With just about every school game available on TV , no team is safe from the poachers. And then there is the small matter of the School Law prohibiting any form of bursary with public funds.

  13. Schools swinging their handbags. ALL top schools shop/buy/ recruit/ poach. That’s the standard. It’s where you draw the line in the sand that seems to make the moral difference these days.

  14. @coach62: Bru, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I was personally involved with Garsies’ recruitment and I can tell you the school has a lot less learners on bursaries than other schools. Way less in fact.
    What has happened and what gave the impression of being a big recruiter is because they gave kids of colour in less known schools in the Cape a chance. And it was easier to spot them in a team compared to the lilly white opponents. But if you attempted to find out how many of them were in the school, you would have noted Garsies could not have been a big recruiter.
    Nevertheless, some stupid rugby administrators cried wolf but said nothing about the boys recruited to Pasrl Gim, Paar Boys, etc.
    And then everybody believed them because it is great to have a scapegoat – don’t let truth stand in the way.

    Any case, Garsies don’t have the same amount of money compared to other schools, so how on earth can they recruit on a large scale?
    So, from the horse’s mouth, you are completely wrong.
    I can’t talk about the other schools you mentioned, but I guess you must know and have the number of boys on burasries at hand, otherwise you would not have commented.

  15. Yip it just is what it is and if schools wish to compete they have to recruit well and top up as much as they can if they need. Great example now… Northwood u15A beat Kearsney u15A 50:0 last year. In fact Kearsney didn’t register a point in the u15A,B or C game. Now 1 year later as u16A’s Kearsney are unbeaten and one of the top teams in SA in that age group. They have clearly recruited, and had to. Did they break any rules? I don’t think so… so like you say fair game if they had the money and managed to get new boys there.

    I think the key is to know that boys will come and go, and yes you may lose great talent that you have found and nutured only to be poached by another school, but if you try and create a great environment and boys are happy they hopefully won’t want to leave.

  16. @coach62: Also, you are completely wrong about the schools act prohibiting bursaries. The by laws allows it. And our friend MEC Lesufi actually encouraged it.
    It is very dangerous to spread ininformed opinions because you uneducate people when telling lies.

  17. Bursaries and recruitment is the reason South Africa have brilliant schoolboy rugby. I love it and so must everyone that enjoys rugby. The top schools kids stood out from the pack. My son payed 0/20 Currie Cup rugby this year and i can tell you just from body position going into a tackle which kids was in the top rugby schools. The difference is like day and night on all the little skills. The Oom Johny’s of the schoolboy universe are the true hero’s. Thousands of boys over the years have been on the receiving end of a life changing experience when they have been recruited to a rugby school.

  18. @Middies pa: I couldn’t agree more. I’m seeing first hand how taking boys from.older age groups ca
    bring trouble. Think about it, if you see a good player past u15 and the school he’s at is “ok” to let him go, isn’t that a red flag? I actually think schools should limit themselves to recruiting at grade7 and possibly grade 8 level. After that they need to rely on coaching and before that they’re asking for trouble…in my opinion.

    I agree recruiting is here to stay but let’s have some guidelines and “honour” in our dealings

  19. @ICEMAN: The sad thing is that the boys are now phoning and ask if they can come back because the grass is not as green as promised. The answer is that they can but that will be on their own cost and that is normally a problem.

  20. @Skywalker: Your last sentence is bull. It is promising them things that is not realistic, not if they are happy or not.

  21. @Rainier: interesting to hear you say that. My first hand experience is the opposite. Boys coming in younger buy into what the school stands for and embrace the values etc. I know of at least four instances in the recent past (4 years) where older boys coming in have turned out to be “trouble” for the school in terms of behaviour off the field.

  22. @Djou: For me there is a simple way of testing this, and we should use Garsfontein as example:

    Is it true that there is only 1 player that was in the school in Gr10?

  23. @NieZandbergNie: Stupid expression. No school has one player in grade 10. There will be no u.16 team if there is only one player in grade 10. Let’s take your school and apply the reasoning there!

  24. @NieZandbergNie: The most important thing is that you can’t take longer than six years to complete grade 12 because you have to be u/19 if you want to play first team. Sakgeld is paid monthly. The standard is R 5 000 per month per player,but the more tries you score,the more you earn.I know about a hooker in the 0/14H team that scored 10 tries in one game,it is R 10 000 bonus. Dis regtig so,belowe.Jou vriend,die Poedel,sal dit bevestig.

  25. :wink: @Wonder: Nee, daai bedrae was voor Covid. Dis nou dubbeld.
    Ai tog, ek wonder of die ouens besef hou hulle hul naam met ‘n plank slaan met dom oningeligte sienings.

  26. It seems I have touched a sensitive topic. Let me rephrase: how many of the current Garsfontein 1st team players were in Hoërskool Garsfontein since Grade 8? And how many since Gr 10?

  27. @Djou: julle vergeet die Ranger bakkies wat die man of the match kan gebruik vir die week,ook die Privaat jet as hulle in die kaap bly en vir n naweek wil huis toe gaan

  28. @Djou: Ja,ek dink die beste antwoord vir sulke vrae is om maar stupid vrae terug te vra.Dis nogal maklik om so ligsinnig te wees.

  29. @Smallies: Hier by ons in Gauteng het Helpmekaar en EG by verre die meeste busse,ek dink Helpies wen die een. Lanklaas die Waterkloof bus gesien wat daagliks Kempton toe ry..en Garsies se tjopper wat kinders in Bronkies optel,almal hokkie seuns.

  30. @Wonder: was daar nie anderdag n foto waar Ryno gespog het met die nuwe tjopper wat Ambrose die skool geskenk het om laaitys van Middelburg Kaap af in te vlieg ,ek dink amper dut was in die Pretoria herald gewees

  31. @NieZandbergNie: Ja, nou vra jy die regte vraag. Dit is verstaanbaar, nie soos die vorige vraag nie.
    Die antwoord is amper almal van graad 8 af – en amper die helfte is nog graad 11.
    Maar so what?
    Maar jy weet mos wat die antwoorde is.

  32. :mrgreen: @Smallies: Jong, daai chopper is massief en great. Stop op Bloem en tel die helfte van Grey op. Maar Grey worry nie want daar is soveel diepte, die volgende groep is net so goed as die wat nou in Garsies is.

  33. @Skywalker..
    You arepartially correct (only in terms of 2021 results), BUT if you do a bit of homework and compare the team sheets between 2021 Kearsney U15A,B and C you will notice that these are the same players in the 2022 U16A,B and C team. In terms of the A team…only 2 players didn’t play last year against Northwood, one due to injury and another played in the B team…this is virtually the same case for the B and C teams. They always had these quality players! Well done to the boys and the Coaches for all the hard work they have done to get on par after the the COVID hurdle that most teams/schools faced.

  34. @Djou: What does “amper” means – 3, 4 or 5 that were not in Garsfontein in year 9? If you recruit for year 8, you have to pay 5 years. If you recruit in year 11, only 2. More bang for your buck it seems.

  35. :-D @flame: wow Thanks for clarifying. I honestly don’t know how that’s possible but will have to take your word. I see they won all 3 games this year round. So from:
    2021 vs Northwood
    Kearsney U15A lost 50:0
    Kearsney u15B lost 27:0
    Kearsney u15C lost 31:0

    And 1 year later the same age group with the exact same players
    2022 vs Northwood
    Kearsney u16A won 28:26
    Kearsney u16B won 31:27
    Kearsney u16C won 10:7

    That must be a record. Who are the coaches? They should join the Sharks or Boks!

  36. @Skywalker: You can confirm it on the Kearsney sports website, where the names of the players for every team are listed for the games v Northwood last year and this year.

    What was going on with that Northwood u16A parent that’s all over social media?

  37. Daar is skole wat verkies om hier en daar n graad 10 ou te koop want dan is daai seun se lyf lekker ontwikkel. Veral voorspelers. Jy kry outjies wat dalk o/14b of c speel maar hier by o/16 rond lyk hy heel anders en dan haal hy A span. Dit gebeur.


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