KES POACHING PLAYERS…AGAIN ?


Hah ! Missed !
  Thundzi Dike of SACS slips past a despairing HTS Louis Botha player
in their match at the Grey High Rugby Festival in March. (photo: Gail Barnard)  

The following article was written by a SACS representative when the school was approached to confirm or refute rumours concerning the disquieting contents. It is published with a view to exposing and condemning the practices mentioned herein. Perhaps some other headmasters might take a leaf out of SACS’ book

Please note that a brief rebuttal by the headmaster of KES, Mr Dave Lovatt, appears at the end of the SACS piece.  KES intends, In the fullness of time, to submit a more comprehensive comment on this particular allegation.  When they do so, it will be published below the article.

"King Edward VII School in Johannesburg has gained a reputation over the last few years for plundering the traditional boys’ schools in the Eastern Cape for talented rugby players. It seems they are up to their old tricks again, but this time they have cast the net even further: to the Western Cape.

When the South African College High School (SACS) were up at the St Stithian’s Easter Festival, their headmaster, who was watching them practice, overheard a man on his phone speaking to someone, presumably a benefactor, about offering a boy a scholarship to attend either KES or St John’s College. Approached by the headmaster and the SACS 1st XV coach, he said his name was Chulumanco Macingwane and that he was not an agent, but was there in his capacity of vice-chairman of Wits Rugby.

The SACS headmaster made it clear that he should not speak to any the SACS players and that it was, in fact, illegal to do so. Mr Macingwane objected at first, then moved off to speak to another set of coaches, but clearly hung around and intercepted the SACS player on his way back to the hostel.

Next morning the player said that Mr Macingwane had spoken to him about moving up to Johannesburg on a scholarship to attend either KES or St John’s.

On returning to Cape Town the headmaster phoned his counterparts at KES and St John’s to report the incident. Both Headmasters knew who Mr. Chulumanco Macingwane was, but said he had no mandate to act on behalf of their schools.

Both said that if the boy in question were to be brought to them, they would not accept him into their school.

This is in line with the draft schools charter promulgated by the headmasters of the traditional boys’ schools last year in which they stated unequivocally that they would not poach each other’s players.

Some headmasters feel that if a boy were to move between their schools on a scholarship, the schools in question should sever all ties with each other and that the other signatories should follow suit and ostracize the perpetrator. (Note: As an independent school, St. John’s College is not part of this protocol).

On Monday 5 May the SACS headmaster received a letter from the boy’s mother stating that he had been accepted at KES and would be starting there on Monday 12 May. When he contacted the KES headmaster, the latter stated that KES had a good No 8 already and he had not accepted the boy, but was, in fact, interviewing him on Monday 12 May. Someone is obviously being extremely economical with the truth !

Either way, it seems the boy has made up his mind and, despite his being taught, nurtured and coached at SACS for two and a half years, he finds the lure of a scholarship at a school he knows nothing about and has never even been to too much of an “opportunity” to turn down.

As a result KES will no longer play any sport against SACS. SACS won’t be inviting KES to attend their annual waterpolo festival, SACS won’t be attending the KES waterpolo event or any future KES Easter Rugby Festivals either.

It seems KES feels that one player, who is currently in the SACS 2nd team, is worth ending over a century of relations between two great schools."

In a pleasant telephone call this afternoon, Monday 12 May 2014, the headmaster of KES, Mr Dave Lovatt, denied certain contentions contained or implied in the SACS piece.

He was at pains to deny that his school had made any approach whatsoever to the learner concerned, stating that the learner had decided to attend KES for entirely his own reasons after a discussion with his mother and that his mother was taking full responsibility for paying her son's school fees, as was apparently also the case when he attended SACS.

The learner was indeed enrolled at KES this morning.

Just a thought, but this appears to be very similar to the case of Swellendam scrumhalf Curtis Jonas, now in Matric at Glenwood, whose father mistook an invitation to consider going to the Sharks after completing his schooling that Curtis received at the Tony Stoops Rugby Festival for a firm contract offer.  Disabused of this misconception, he nevertheless saw fit to relocate his entire family up to Durban anyway. 

In hindsight, it seems to have been a good move.