Rumblings over WP Craven Week XV
PAUL ROOS dominate the Wester n Province Under-18 team selected for Craven Week, but they’re some distance off being the leading rugby school in Western Province.
Six Paul Roos players make it into the starting XV and two are on the bench in the squad of 22, raising concerns as to whether favouritism played a part in team selection.
The Stellenbosch-based school has been well-beaten by traditional rivals Paarl Gymnasium (30-27, after trailing 30-3 early into the second half) and Bishops (33-23). Yet the two victorious teams, currently rated in the top three in South Africa, could only muster two players in the starting XV (both from Gym) and two in the squad.
Gym is the only unbeaten team in the WP Under-19A Premier League, and Bishops, apart from narrow losses to Gym (32-34) and Boland Landbou (13-15), have easily been the next best side.
Gym coach Christoff Lötter, for one, was somewhat dumbfounded that only two of his players from an all-conquering team made the grade. “It does leave a bit of a bitter taste,” he said. “Yes, the selectors have a tough job to perform, but I was (really) surprised only two of my boys got chosen and one more made the bench.
“We send many of our players to trials and were confident of a good return; all we ended up with were a string of injuries and a lot of unhappy boys.”
Bishops coach Dave Mallett must be wondering where his charges went wrong, with only Tshepo Motale cracking the nod (off the bench).
“I haven’t had direct conversation with the selectors (whoever they may be), but it is a bit of a shock to the system when a team performs as well as we (and Gym) have, only to sit back and wonder how this WP 22 got to be chosen,” Mallett said.
Rondebosch coach Shaun Friedenthal is of the opinion that the systems in place are in need of an overhaul. “Clearly we need a better way forward in ter ms of picking the strongest possible teams,” he said. “How else can you monitor player movement, development and progress?”
A couple of players selected for Craven Week are second team players – unbelievable, but true. Surely that should never happen?
Interviewed for general comment, WP general manager of youth rugby, Theo Kleynhans, said he was more than satisfied that the strongest possible Craven Week team had been selected. “It may come across as being Roos, Roos, Roos, but let’s remember four of their players were in the unbeaten ‘champion’ team from last year,” he said.
“Selectors can’t please everybody. We must remember that quota systems are also in place (a directive from Saru).
“We may not be happy with that because we in WP always strive to drive development like no other province, but that’s the reality at present. We can only pick 12 white players and 10 players of colour.
“This places enor mous pressure on the selectors when choosing their team.”
FUTURE STARS: The 22 players chosen to represent Western Province at the Craven Week in Welkom later this month.