South Africa’s top rugby school still believes the Crusaders intend to poach players at an invitational camp in Pretoria.
On Friday, it emerged that the Crusaders had mailed letters to South Africa’s top rugby schools enticing them to send their best players to a development and skills camp from 6-10 July. Saru then sent a letter to the New Zealand Rugby Union requesting that they intervene and prevent the Crusaders from recruiting South Africa’s junior talent.
On Saturday, Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach denied there is anything sinister about the camp and was adamant that the Crusaders don’t intend to recruit South African players for the New Zealand franchise.
But Grey College aren’t taking any chances. The No 1 ranked school in the country has received the Crusaders’ invitation for the camp, but won’t be sending any players.
‘In the letter it says the camp is development-orientated, but one still gets a feeling that it is a process of recruitment,’ Grey’s director of rugby, Dries van der Wal, told keo.co.za.
‘South Africa’s top schoolboys will be at the camp, so what will stop them from offering players who impress them a deal with the Crusaders?’
Van der Wal added that Grey will not support this initiative.
‘Grey won’t send any players and it is our final decision. We feel our best players must stay in South Africa.
‘We are all for the development of our players, but we don’t want our players to be based overseas.
‘I’ve spoken to some schools in the Bloemfontein region and they won’t send any of their players and the Free State Rugby Union is against this camp. But I haven’t been in contact with other schools in the country, so I don’t know what they will do.’
By Gareth Duncan