‘Into a different league’

2014-08-23 00:00

ELEMENTS of professionalism in local schoolboy rugby may have been the reason behind the indefinite cancellation of a prominent fixture between Glenwood and Hilton.

On Thursday, SA Schools Magazine’s website broke the news that Hilton and Glenwood had agreed that they would no longer play each other on the rugby field. The decision was made after lengthy discussions between the schools’ principals in recent weeks.

Hilton made the announcement in a newsletter, citing what seemed to be injury concerns and an apparent gap in performance levels.

“I write to inform you that we have, after careful consideration, decided to discontinue all rugby fixtures against Glenwood High School for the foreseeable future,” Hilton principal Peter Ducasse was quoted as saying.

“The simple reason for this decision is that Glenwood’s fairly recent strategy has, in our firm opinion, now moved them into a different league. Apart from the increased risk of injury, which is associated with such mismatches, we see no educational value (for any of the players) in playing matches where the contest is decidedly one-sided.”

Hilton were adamant that they would not elaborate on what specific “strategy” put Glenwood in a different league.

The last fixture between the schools in June saw the Durban side beat Hilton 67-7, but the result was seemingly decided at half-time with the score line reading 27-7. The home side conceded 11 tries and were clearly outmatched on the day.

All the other A-team fixtures were also won by Glenwood, while Hilton’s sixth and fifth teams were the only Hilton sides to win.

Both schools said that the decision was made on good terms but Glenwood principal Trevor Kershaw has denied some allegations that were posted in comments on the website. A number of people had suggested that Glenwood players were contracted by rugby unions, which the principal denied.

“Our boys go everywhere after school. In all activities, their choice, I suppose,” Kershaw told The Witness.

However, the principal did admit that the school has set very high standards, specifically on the rugby front.

“Glenwood’s intentions are to make KZN schools compete on a national level with pride. To do that, we have put strategies promoting excellence in all fields of endeavour in place, rugby being just one of them,” Kershaw said.

He refused to comment on the attitude of professionalism at other schools but made it clear that Glenwood “do everything to the best of our ability”.

It is not the first time the schools have stopped playing rugby against each other. Between 2006 and 2011 there were no rugby fixtures between the schools.

Despite that, Kershaw hopes that the two schools might meet again on the rugby field in the next few years.

“Hilton are an important, and long-standing fixture of Glenwood’s, and we hope they will see their way clear to reintroduce Glenwood rugby back into their fixtures in the near future,” he said.

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