Plans in place for new SA Schools Rugby Challenge

Cape Town - Plans are in place for a new competition featuring South Africa's top rugby schools.

It was revealed over the weekend that Garsfontein, Grey College, Monument, Paarl Boys' High, Paarl Gimnasium and Paul Roos were invited and agreed to take part in negotiations that will lead to the establishment of a formal "SA Schools Rugby Challenge".

A press statement revealed that negotiations were still in process with other 'Tier 1' schools in an attempt to expand the challenge to eight participating schools.

Schools will compete against each other on an annual basis, but organisers have stressed the importance of all rugby players being involved and not just first XVs.

Bart Schoeman, a former high-performance manager at the Lions, will act as chairperson during the negotiations and guide the process in the initial three years.

The terms of the series will be negotiated with the following guidelines that were established during the past months:

1. The "challenge" will only take place from 2021 onwards.

2. The establishment of a second-tier of competing schools from 2022 onwards.

3. Promotion/relegation between the two tiers from 2023 onwards.

4. The minimum teams a school must field is three teams per age group and four in the under-19 age group.

5. "Developing" schools will be "adopted" to help ensure that all the teams of the participating schools will have fixtures at any stage. Parel Vallei has been confirmed as the first development school.

6. Eligibility of players - No player will be allowed to participate in this series at the under-19 age group who are not enrolled at his new school within the first two weeks after the commencement of his first grade 11 school year. A committee will be appointed who will evaluate each transfer that does not comply.

7. Coaches of the competing schools will make them available for free coaching clinics specifically aimed at developing coaches to assist in the development of rugby at all rugby playing schools.

8. The traditional fixtures and values of participating schools are to be respected.