One of the hottest debates in schoolboy rugby for the past 20 odd years is the eligibility of U/19 players. Currently, all games in South Africa is played at U/19 level except for the Craven Week and the Tuks series. Arguments for and against are both valid as well as emotional.
The Tuks series is contested by most of the top rugby schools in the Old Transvaal but as a U/18 competition. Unfortunately, most of the U/19 players is contracted by Unions which do not appreciate that their "asset" is not playing and are therefore looking to move their players to schools who take part in U/19 competitions or leagues.
With the schools in the Northern Cape and Free State actively improving their rugby standards, they are becoming very competitive in the top tier of schoolboy rugby and provides acceptable alternatives for the Unions. The availability of these players have created a new market for these u/19 players and in the past weeks, various allegations are flying around between Northern Cape and Free State schools, to such an extent that there were several threats being made to boycott the schools that are importing U/19 players in their final year. Accusations were made that guilty schools imported 5 - 6 U/19 players which were understandably denied by the accused schools.
An agreement similar to the one in KZN is currently being negotiated but it seems that the guilty schools do not want to budge for 2017 as the boys to be affected are already enrolled and part of the 1stXV preparations. Again the involvement of the SA Schools Rugby Association and SARU is urgently needed but is sadly lacking. One can only wonder which barrier is next to be moved by the rugby gods.