GARETH DUNCAN reports that eight KZN schoolboys were found out to be over age following a provincial investigation.
Last Friday, keo.co.za’s Schoolboy Derby revealed the names of two high-profile 1st XV players who were over the allowed age for the school, provincial and national junior teams they represented. They are Glenwood’s captain and wing Siyabonga Tom and DHS fullback Mbembe Payi. Both players featured for KZN at the U18 Craven Week last year, while Tom was selected for the 2011 SA Schools squad. They have since been expelled.
Following these findings, the KZN High Schools Rugby Association started a provincial investigation.
KZN head of high school rugby Noel Ingle said their probe is still ongoing, but confirmed that eight over-age players were caught.
‘There were 320 schoolboys who took part in the U16 and U18 provincial trials. From that group, we found out that eight boys were over age,’ Noel told Schoolboy Derby. ‘Most of those players were a year too old. There were three serious cases, where one player was actually 22 years old. Saru and Sasra [South African Schools Rugby Association] will determine their punishment.
‘Today I can say that all the school teams in the province are clean,’ he continued. ‘I am relieved that we have sorted out this mess, but in the same token, I am disappointed that this has happened.
‘We are now trying to find out who the guilty parties are. The schools are not the issue. To the lesser extent, the players are accountable, but the main problems are the scouts and agents involved, who have probably played a big role in organising fake identity documents. We hope to have this matter sorted out over the next couple of weeks – preferably before Craven Week [9-14 July].’
Ingle added that he believes this is a national problem.
‘I don’t think this is an issue within the KZN province only,’ he said.
WP manager of youth rugby Theo Kleynhans argued that all unions should check their junior provincial trialists through Saru’s database before a final squad is selected.
‘In my 17 years here at WP, I haven’t encountered one major over age issue,’ Kleynhans told this site. ‘This is because we use Saru’s identity checking services, which is made available to all unions.
‘When we have a provisional squad of 40 players, we already start gathering the necessary information and send all the names through to Saru. Other provinces should do the same to avoid any issues.’