Saru ban coach for breaking age rules

Jan Botha, a coach at De Aar Secondary School in the Northern Cape, has been given a six-month suspension for fielding overage players in a school fixture.

In a match against Vaalharts Secondary School, Botha falsely passed off some players for being U17 when, in fact, they had already turned 18.

Botha's ban has been suspended for a period of one year, while De Aar Secondary school were forced to forfeit the points they earned for the match.

Botha was the first person to be prosecuted under Saru's new regulations, which were introduced last season in a bid to improve the safety of young players.

They stipulate that no player may appear for a team if he is over age or if he is more than two years younger than the maximum stipulated age for that particular age-group.

'The safety of rugby players at all ages is of paramount importance to Saru,' said Saru CEO Jurie Roux at the handing down of the punishment.

'Prior to their introduction there was the danger of players as young as 14 or 15 playing against boys of 19 with all the inherent risks that that implies.

'Coaches must understand that if they breach these regulations and players are seriously injured as a result that they have potentially laid themselves open not only to Saru’s disciplinary code but also to the criminal courts.

'These are important regulations that we take very seriously.'

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