The business of poaching/attracting schoolboy rugby players has reached enormous proportions in the Valke Rugby Union.
It has even reached the stage where a charge of kidnapping is reported to have been laid with the police against two members of the staff of Dr EG Jansen of Boksburg, the destination of two Under-14 schoolboys who are excellent rugby players.
The school from which they were ‘poached’ is Vereeniging Gimnasium, whose headmaster is Dries van Heerden, a well-known rugby man who at one stage was the chairman of South African Schools.
According to a report in Beeld newspaper, last Friday, January 17, at 16.00 two teachers from Hoërskool Dr EG Jansen came to the Vereeniging Gim’s hostel and went off with two Under-14 boys who are ‘[brilliant rugby players’. Nobody at Vereeniging Gim – not the housemaster or any other member of staff – had been told about the action.
According to Van Heerden, only the housemaster or the boys’ parents could give them permission to go out.
Apparently the vehicle arrived and within minutes the two boys got aboard and left.
Van Heerden said: ‘If something happens to the boys, we are in troiuble.’
The two boys concerned were ‘discovered’ by Vereeniging Gim in Stellenbosch in 2013 and started at Vereeniging Gim in 2013. Gim paid the boys school fees and boarding fees in 2013, a bursary dependent on performance.
According to the Gim Director of Rugby, Doom Gouws, Gim intended doing the same this year.
One of the two members of staff who picked the boys up, Uwe Sauer, was the boys’ coach at Vereeniging Gim last year, but then moved to EG Jansen, where he is coaching the Under-15 team this year, the age group into which the boys fall.
According to Sauer, the boys had wanted to move to EG Jansen last year, but he had told them to stay put – but they could contact him later.
He said that on January 17 he already had the written permission from the parents for the change to be made.
The principal of EG Jansen, Leon de Beer, said that the housemaster was not available at the time of the incident and that there was nobody who could give them an exeat.. according to him, the boys would live with an (unnamed) member of staff.
Natasha Andries, the mother of one of the boys, claimed that she had sent Vereeniging Gim a fax saying that she wanted her son to move to EG Jansen as he had been unhappy from the start at Gim.
She said: ‘Nobody was kidnapped.’
Van Heerden said that the parents would be expected to pay back the school and hostel fees.