Schoolboys from Paul Roos, Paarl Boys’ High and Paarl Gim should represent Boland at the annual SA Rugby Youth Weeks, writes DYLAN JACK.
Western Province XV’s victory over the Golden Lions on day two of the U18 Craven Week seems to have brought up a touchy subject in more ways than one.
While I wrote in the match report that the result was a bit of a surprise, given it was a B team beating an A team, the Western Province XV are a B side in name only.
Players such as flyhalf Kian Meadon, who scored 13 points in the match, fullback Tiaan Swanepoel, centre Stephan du Toit and wing Javier Farmer, to name but a few, could all be selected for the other Craven Week squads, bar perhaps the Bulls and Free State.
The fact that all of the above players come from Boland-based schools, and would represent the region in other sports, has again brought up the talking point: Should players from the ‘big three’ of Boland be selected for Western Province in rugby?
It is something that has been debated for a while. Experienced school sports scribe Theo Garrun has written extensively on the subject.
The arguments for seem to suggest that it frees up space in the Boland squad for players from some of the smaller schools in the region, such as HTS Drostdy and Hermanus High.
Unfortunately that doesn’t really hold up when one considers that if the same argument is applied to the Lions, their B squad could be calling up players that would either be on the bench for the Blue Bulls A side, or be starting for the Valke. The Golden Lions XV would no doubt be boosted by the presence of a Franco Enslin or Jeandre Liebenberg, both of whom have shone for the Valke this year.
It should also be considered that with WP selecting players from the Boland three, it effectively limits opportunities for players from the schools located in the Southern Suburbs and surrounds.
The peculiarity of the situation was further highlighted in Western Province’s opening match of the Craven Week against Boland, which WP went on to win 50-24.
Unfortunately, the reality is that WP call players up from the Boland three for competitive purposes. What it ultimately does is make victories like the one seen on Tuesday seem very hollow.
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