Chairman Bart Schoeman insists the proposed SA Schools Rugby Challenge will be a positive development for the game in this country.
On Sunday, the tournament organisers revealed that Garsfontein, Grey College, Monument, Paarl Boys’, Paarl Gimnasium and Paul Roos were invited and agreed to take part in further negotiations that will lead to the establishment of a formal SA Schools Rugby Challenge.
High schools would enrol three teams per junior age group, with the U19 age group providing at least four.
The first Challenge would take place in 2021.
There was a mixed response to the news on social media.
‘We expected a reaction from the public and schools, negative and positive, therefore were prepare for most,’ Schoeman said in a statement on Monday.
‘The main purpose of the Challenge is to ensure that the top schools compete against each other regularly. The need to play against other top schools in an organised system to grow the game and not only concentrate on the A teams/1st XV was one of the reasons we started with the process.
‘To discuss the final structure of the Challenge, and anything else at this stage is premature. Discussions are planned for the rest of December and January next year with the schools and role players to ensure participation by all.
‘We must understand that although the identified schools agreed to be part of the process, there are still differences that need to addressed over the next few months.
‘We have no intention to replace or change existing schoolboy rugby structures which is certainly the most successful in the world. We just want to add some spice, that has been demanded by the schoolboy rugby community for quite a while.
‘We are confident that our involvement in schoolboy rugby will result in more boys playing the game, with the development of coaches our chosen pathway to achieve just that. Development opportunities are built into the plan by presenting coaching seminars to coaches of smaller and development schools that are not part of the series.
‘An area we will also address is the mentorship and planning of players careers. Mentorship and guidance sessions will form part of the process. Parents and players will be informed and guided with their future planning and aspirations during and after professional sport.
‘We are confident that in a few years our contribution will be seen as positive and constructive in preserving the game we all love at schoolboy level.’