SA Schools ‘A’ coach Katleho Lynch says thought is still being put into giving players in the SA Rugby Elite Player Development squad a run-out towards the end of the year.
SA Rugby last week confirmed that several age-group competitions had been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among these were the Provincial U21 and U19 tournaments, the SA Schools U18 tournament and all Youth Weeks – including the U18 Craven Week, U16 Grant Khomo Week and U13 Craven Week.
In an exclusive interview with SARugbymag.co.za, Lynch – who had been named as SA Schools ‘A’ assistant coach – said there were talks about scheduling a tournament at the end of 2020, if conditions allow for it.
‘I was still hoping, because there were one or two meetings that we had. They were just trying to make arrangements to see if we could move it to another day. It was going back and forth. And then obviously the disappointment came when the announcement was made that we couldn’t play.
‘Obviously, I am massively disappointed. However, I think they did say that they are looking at another option – dependent on the Springboks’ Tests – if they happen – in October. They are looking at something there for both coaches and players to have a bite at rugby there. If not, perhaps something at the end of the year with other international countries.
‘Hopefully, we can look forward to that. Hopefully it happens. If it doesn’t happen, it is just another disappointment we will have to get over and prepare well for next year.’
The disruptions to the SA Rugby youth rugby calendar have led to fears that it may result in a large number of schoolboys – particularly those in Grade 12 – missing out on the opportunity to earn a chance to further a rugby career.
Lynch said that while the top schoolboy players had already been scouted and signed, those on the fringes in their final year of school may miss their chance to secure a move to one of the South African rugby unions.
‘In my opinion, the top players have already been signed by the unions,’ Lynch said. ‘My heart just breaks for the players that were on the fringe, who were obviously relying on a good school season or relying on a good Craven Week, to get a look in. Those players might be the ones who might miss out. So that is where we might be losing a player that could actually all the way, just because we couldn’t get to see him play throughout the season.
‘So I think the top players have definitely already been signed up. It is just for the players on the fringes, that might miss out. Unless, they get very lucky.
‘My heart really breaks for matrics, because they can’t get to showcase what they have been preparing for probably from last year. Then again, for guys who are in the younger age groups, Grade 11s and U17s, they actually have so much more to get motivated for because they will get their opportunity next year. ‘