Dominant schools get just reward

The Lions and Bulls Craven Week teams are both dominated by players from a single school – 11 from Monument in the Lions and 10 from Affies in the Bulls.

That has caused some unhappiness on the part of the other schools in the provinces, who may have players in their ranks that they believe are worthy of provincial selection.

It’s not unusual that the bulk of a representative team will come from the dominant club or school in an area, and both Affies and Monument have certainly been that over the years.

A look at the team sheets at the Bondedag this week showed the same thing is happening in many other provinces. There are, for example, 17 Grey College players in the Free State team; 10 from Tzaneen’s Ben Vorster in the Limpopo side and eight from EG Jansen in the Valke side.

Selecting teams via a trial process is never satisfactory. That’s why it’s no longer done at national level. In the case of Craven Week selection, the dominant schools will form the bulk of their area teams, in the first instance, with players in combinations benefitting from their history together, and as they progress through ensuing rounds of trials it will be increasingly difficult for players from other schools to make an impression.

The odd star will, of course, force his way in through touches of brilliance but under the current circumstances it seems that teams made up of players predominantly from one school are here to stay.

And it’s not really fair to accuse selectors of bias, or provincial unions of interfering. Teams are chosen by selection panels, consisting of teachers from many schools after a number of rounds of trials.

In the case of the Golden Lions this year there are no Monument teachers on the panel, and the coaches are not from the school either. One has to accept that they will try to pick the best team possible, given the constraints they operate within, and to say that the presence of so many Monument players in the team this year is sinister is just not true.

By Gauteng correspondent