Meth­ods ques­tioned as other unions snap up WP tal­ent

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

THE tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion struc­tures at youth level in West­ern Prov­ince rugby are shock­ing, says Wyn­berg Boys’ High First XV coach Gus Les­lie.

His views are shared by some top coaches.

“I be­lieve things are done un­pro­fes­sion­ally com­pared to the Natal Sharks and the Blue Bulls.

“They seem a step ahead of us here in the Cape in sourc­ing the best young tal­ent in the coun­try and sign­ing them up.

“Clearly we need the un­healthy sit­u­a­tion in Cape rugby to be ad­dressed by all rel­e­vant par­ties as a mat­ter of ur­gency” he said.

But West­ern Prov­ince gen­eral man­ager of Youth Rugby, Theo Kleyn­hans, has scoffed at the neg­a­tive views ex­pressed by cer­tain par­ties.

“It is not so that our de­vel­op­ment struc­tures are not com­pa­ra­ble with our ri­val unions,” he said. “I would go on to say that we are do­ing a great job in iden­ti­fy­ing our fu­ture rugby stars.

“Why is it that unions like the Sharks and Bulls are poach­ing our play­ers?

“ Clearly they are not do­ing an ad­e­quate job of sourc­ing their own tal­ent, and there­fore re­sort to scouting the coun­try to make ends meet. “One must re­mem­ber that WP rugby is capped on how many play­ers it can af­ford and ac­com­mo­date in its pool sys­tem. WP rugby ad­mits it makes mis­takes, but that is part of the process.”

Ron­de­bosch Boys’ High first team coach Sean Frieden­thal con­curred with Les­lie’s view­point.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween us and the other big­ger unions is their pro-ac­tive ap­proach in looking for and de­vel­op­ing our

‘Clearly we need the un­healthy sit­u­a­tion in Cape rugby to be ad­dressed’

best young play­ers.

“I don’t be­lieve those in WP rugby, tasked with find­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of play­ers, are equipped to do so. There seems to be no plan in place, like in the other unions, of com­ing up with a pro­fes­sional busi­ness plan to deal with the un­ac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion we as coaches find our­selves hav­ing to deal with,” he said.

Frieden­thal added that the Sharks and Bulls knew ex­actly what they were looking for in a tal­ented young­ster be­fore go­ing out to find that player wher­ever they needed to go.

“Here, in WP, it’s a rule of thumb that when teams like the Craven Week team are se­lected, se­lec­tion was bi­ased to­wards cer­tain schools and, be­cause of this, tal­ented play­ers were be­ing given a raw deal.

“And you won­der why so many of our play­ers, like this year, are mov­ing to other unions to fur­ther their rugby ca­reers?”

Frieden­thal’s pre­de­ces­sor at Ron­de­bosch, Shaun Povey, had a sit­u­a­tion in his fi­nal sea­son in charge last year when he chal­lenged the se­lec­tors to come and have a look at the size of one of his flankers who they, the se­lec­tors, deemed too small to be picked.

“Clearly the se­lec­tors had never seen Chris­ti­aan Bester be­fore,” Povey said at the time.

Clearly the loss of play­ers of the cal­i­bre of Wyn­berg’s fly­half Kieran Goss to the Sharks when he fin­ishes school at the end of the year high­lights the dif­fi­cul­ties tal­ented play­ers con­front when they are part of the sys­tem.

Goss, who was in­stru­men­tal in turn­ing Wyn­berg into a force to be reck­oned with this sea­son, was told by se­lec­tors dur­ing zonal tri­als that he was third-choice in his pivot po­si­tion and played him at full­back.

He ended up be­ing se­lected for the WP Academy team at 15 and then was told he couldn’t play for his school for fear of in­jury be­fore the na­tional tour­na­ment.

Goss re­sponded by telling the se­lec­tors to stick it up their jer­sey and did turn out for his school for the week­end match.

Goss has been guar­an­teed the No 15 jer­sey for the Sharks’ Un­der-19 team for next sea­son’s Cur­rie Cup as their No 1 choice.

He will be joined at the Sharks Academy by school team-mates Zingisa Ndiki (pow­er­ful right wing with 11 tries this sea­son), when he com­pletes ma­tric next year, and promis­ing prop But­ler Dube.

Bosch’s cen­tre Dar­ryn Berry has been snapped up by the Bulls, as has Paarl Gym­na­sium’s SA Schools fly­half

‘The Mother Union has al­ways had an open door pol­icy for sug­ges­tions’

William van Wyk.

Kleyn­hans stressed that any prob­lems to do with se­lec­tion caus­ing un­hap­pi­ness at school level should be brought to his at­ten­tion through chan­nels that cur­rently ex­isted.

“Should peo­ple be dis­sat­is­fied, the Schools Unions and the Mother Union have al­ways had an open door pol­icy for sug­ges­tions and dis­cus­sions to bet­ter our pro­cesses and struc­tures.”

WP Rugby Union is in the process of spending mil­lions of rands try­ing to lure star player Bryan Ha­bana to the Cape next sea­son.

This money could have been well spent in sourc­ing and de­vel­op­ing the prov­ince’s own fu­ture stars.

With West­ern Cape schools, year in and out, hav­ing as many as eight schools ranked in the top 20 na­tion­ally, that shouldn’t be dif­fi­cult. THE Bulls re­bounded from an or­di­nary first half to whip the Leop­ards at Lof­tus last night.

It cer­tainly wasn’t a pol­ished per­for­mance from the hosts, but that was ex­pected given how many new com­bi­na­tions they fielded.

Even so, Frans Ludeke will be dis­ap­pointed in his charges’ first half per­for­mance against a unit as weak as this. He will, how­ever, have been more con­tent af­ter the sec­ond.

The Bulls were suck­ered into play­ing ex­pan­sively af­ter scor­ing two tries through a di­rect ap­proach, and this kept the Leop­ards in the match. In fact, at half-time they led by just nine points (20-11) when they should have bagged the four-try bonus point had they played smarter.

The Leop­ards were sec­ond best at the set phases, rob­bing them of a pri­mary at­tack­ing plat­for m and strug­gled to match the Bulls’ phys­i­cal­ity at the tackle point, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to re­cy­cle quickly when the car­rier hit the deck.

They started brightly enough though, and prof­ited from the Bulls’ tac­ti­cal naivety at stages of the first half, but ul­ti­mately they had nei­ther the per­son­nel or tac­ti­cal in­tel­li­gence to over­come the Bulls.

Their ill dis­ci­pline, which saw them earn two red cards and two yel­lows, made an ar­du­ous task an im­pos­si­ble one.

The victory, how­ever, comes at a mas­sive cost for the Bulls as Spring­bok winger Akona Ndugane was stretchered off with what was later con­firmed as a bro­ken tibia. Youngsters Frik Kirsten and Ste­fan Water­meyer all cried off with in­juries, while Van der Merwe and Hougaard also looked de­cid­edly bat­tered at full-time.

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