Northern Cape school rugby taking a knock

NORTHERN CAPE. – For most schools in the country rugby in 2020 is a matter of the past – for the time being, that is.

Not only did the Covid 19 crisis mauled the country’s economy, but rugby at schools also suffered a crash tackle.

Chances slim

While national tournaments have been cancelled, chances are slim that any rugby will be played at school level this year.

This also applies to the two top schools in Kimberley, Diamantveld Secondary and Northern Cape, which were scheduled to meet head-to-head on May 7 for their annual derby.

Normally 5000 spectators

Normally more than 5 000 spectators turn up for this clash, which is regarded as the biggest such event in the Northern Cape – second only to Upington playing Duineveld.

Does not lessen disappointment

Leon Karemaker, Diamantveld’s coach, says while the lockdown is an extraordinary arrangement, this does not lessen the disappointment. “The boys start their preparation early in the year, and are looking forward to their annual tour to Oakdale. The Wildeklawer tournament is highly regarded, which we are hosting every year. The boys were not granted this opportunity this year.”

Video grabs and Whatsapps

Karemaker says he makes use of video grabs and Whatsapps to keep his players fit, adding that there still is a small chance that the team will be in action again this year – provided the lockdown is lifted and that the school’s governing body gives its consent.

School rugby to continue slim

Gerrit Myburg, assistant coach of Northern Cape Secondary School, agrees that the possibility that school rugby will continue this year is slim. “At this stage, the safety of our children is more important to us. However, the school may decide otherwise. We use video analysis and messages to inspire players to stay conditioned. Of course we are disappointed that they could not take part in this year’s Kearsney Easter weekend tournament. The Wildeklawer tournament is also a pinnacle for each boy who dons the white jersey.”

Relies on sponsors

One of Northern Cape’s biggest restraints is that it heavily relies on sponsors to enable the teams to compete. At the same time, the sponsors missed the golden opportunity to get the necessary exposure.

Schools are currently investigating alternatives to accommodate its sponsors.

The only ray of hope for both schools is the possible consolation of a Griqua Craven Week team that may be chosen to play in curtain-raisers for Curry Cup games.

Last year, Diamantveld produced six Grant Khomo players, as well as six Craven Week players, that can still play for the Cravenweek side this year. Whilst Northern Cape has three Grant Khomo and three Craven Week players, who can still play for Cravenweek this year.

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