Rugby shows significant reduction in foul play

2011-09-06 00:00

MARITZBURG College has reported a dramatic 50% reduction in foul play at all levels of their rugby, and have attributed this to the pupils buying into a code of fair play.

Maritzburg College is one of 22 schools affiliated to the Discovery SharkSmart programme that promotes an ethic of “play safe, play fair”, which staff at the school believe to be behind the sharp fall in reported incidents of foul play in their rugby.

“Our disciplinary hearing count had decreased by over 50% from last year,” said director of rugby at College, Steve Botha.

“We always encouraged our boys to play hard, but, as per SharkSmart’s philosophy, also to play safely and fairly. Constant reinforcement of this message has played a significant role in these results,” he added.

A sound disciplinary protocol ensures all incidents are handled appropriately and efficiently, and, in turn, the young players understand that negative actions on the field will result in immediate consequences.

“Every player who receives a red or a yellow card has to meet with the master in charge, the coach and myself on the Monday morning after the game. They tell their story of what happened, the coach gives his input and the referee’s report is taken into consideration,” said Botha. “Based on all the evidence, the players are then disciplined appropriately, usually with a one or two-week suspension from playing rugby, unless they have a track record in which case they are automatically suspended for three weeks,” he added.

Botha hopes Maritzburg College aren’t the only ones to be experiencing such a positive trend.

“I feel generally there is a good sense of sportsmanship in schoolboy rugby in KZN at the moment, particularly at first-team level,” said Botha.

“The games are hard and there is a great rivalry between many schools, but from what I have seen, things are still played in a very good spirit.”

“Our match against Glenwood was a great contest which came down to the last kick and we ended up losing (31-32), but afterwards both teams walked off the field and hugged each other and shook hands. It was a fantastic advert for the game,” he added.

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