A dream of many schoolboy rugby supporters is about to come true. Some of the top rugby playing schools and major role players came together during the past few months to negotiate the birth of arguably the most competitive schoolboy rugby challenge in the world.
Garsfontein Hoërskool, Grey College, Hoër Jongenskool Paarl (Paarl Boishaai), Monument Hoërskool, Paarl Gimnasium and Paul Roos Gymnasium was invited and agreed to take part in further negotiations that will lead to the establishment of a formal "SA Schools Rugby Challenge". Negotiations are still in process with other schools to expand the challenge to a minimum of eight participating schools at the Tier 1 level.
The initial invites took into account the schools' current fixture lists and workload. Great care was also taken to guarantee that historical fixtures will not be affected during the initial period. It is, however, the organisers intend to involve all qualifying schools before the end of 2022.
This series aims to ensure that the invited schools compete annually against each other, with all their rugby playing boys getting the opportunity to test themselves against the best whether he represents his school a 1stXV level or u/14C level.
During the negotiations, it was clear that although all were eager to participate in this challenge some hard work and negotiations must still take place during the next two to three months to ensure the participation of all.
The well known mr Bart Schoeman will act as chairman during the negotiations and guide the process in the initial three years.
The terms of the series will be negotiated with the following guidelines that were established during the past months.
1) The "challenge" will only take place from 2021 onwards.
2) The establishment of a second-tier of competing schools from 2022 onwards.
3) Promotion/Relegation between the two tiers from 2023 onwards.
4) The minimum teams a school must field is three teams per age group and four in the u/19 age group.
5) "Developing" schools will be "adopted" to help ensure that all the teams of the participating schools will have fixtures at any stage. Parel Vallei Hoërskool has been confirmed as the first development school.
6) Eligibility of players - No player will be allowed to participate in this series at the u/19 age group who are not enrolled at his new school within the first two weeks after the commencement of his first grade 11 school year. A committee will be appointed who will evaluate each transfer that does not comply.
7) Coaches of the competing schools will make them available for free coaching clinics specifically aimed at developing coaches to assist in the development of rugby at all rugby playing schools.
8) The traditional fixtures and values of participating schools are to be respected.