Fri 22 Jan 2016 | 12:46

Poaching saga: Parktown refuses to play KES

Poaching saga: Parktown refuses to play KES
Fri 22 Jan 2016 | 12:46
Poaching saga: Parktown refuses to play KES
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Please, note that changes have been made since the receipt of correspondence from headmaster Lovat of KES.

The reason yet again is the alleged poaching of promising sportsmen, this time two rugby players by KES from Parktown.

The principal of Parktown, who has been the headmaster since June 2015, Derek Bradley, in consultation with the school’s executive, has sent a letter to parents and Old Boys laying out the reasons for the suspension 'until further notice'.

It is a sad tale of dishonesty.

If this is the way rugby is going at schools level, one wonders what is happening in the high echelons of the game where the stakes are higher, the money far, far greater.

According to Parktown, the two boys alleged to have changed from Parktown to KES were both in the Golden Lions Under-16 team at the 2015 Grant Khomo Week. The two Parktown players in that team were fullback and goal-kicker Kennedy Mpeku, who was born in Kinshasa, and prop Nkosikhona Masuku. The two who moved to KES are twin brothers.

Timeline

September 2015: Parktown were told that their two boys had been approached by schools in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng through an agent Wynand Moolman.

The boys concerned had been at Parktown Boys' High from Grade 8 and were on full sports scholarships.

15 September 2015: Remo Murabito, Parktown's director of sport,  emailed the directors of sport at all other Gauteng schools giving the boys' backgrounds and possible approaches to schools through their agent.

Murabito reminded them of the Boys' School Charter, prohibiting practice of "approaching and offering money to boys to allow or encourage them to switch schools". KES acknowledged this.

Murabito contacted the Lions Rugby Union who offered the boys contracts to counter the KwaZulu-Natal offer.

Late September/Early October: David Lovat, headmaster of KES, phoned Derek Bradley, headmaster of Parktown, and told him that the father of the twins had been to see headmaster Lovat to see about moving his sons from Parktown to KES. Headmaster Lovat:  "The father was informed that an application would be accepted only on condition that he wished to leave Parktown and that he enroll at King Edward without any bursary or scholarship offer from King Edward VII."  

November 2015: Murabito held a meeting attended by one of the boys and his father, at which both stated that the boy would stay at Parktown.

Apart from the boy and his father, those at the meeting were headmaster Bradley, Murabito, Andrew van Zyl (Parktown's 1st XV coach) Timmy Goodwin (GLRU) and Bafana Nhleko (GLRU and Parktown Rugby Director).

12 December 2015: Murabito confirmed that the boys would be returning to Parktown.

12 January: Both boys were in boarders at KES

Headmaster Bradley contacted the KES headmaster, David Lovat, who is reported as saying that there was nothing wrong with the boys being at his school.

(Lovat had previously been the headmaster of Hilton (2008-2009) and Queen's College (2010))

15 January 2016: Headmaster Bradley announced the suspension of sporting activities with KES.

Bradley ended by saying: "This issue is bigger than the two schools involved. We, as a school, believe that the time has come to make a stand against the continued procurement of players between the boys’ schools, either by direct approaches from schools, or through the use of agents."

In 2014 SACS played at the Saints Easter Tournament but went home a player short when Lwazi Monakali stayed on at KES. SACS then decided to have no further sporting contact with KES.

The Border schools – Selborne, Queen's, Dale and Hudson Park have previously been angered by the 'poaching' of their players. Last year Selborne refused to play Glenwood after talented Jerome Bossr, a Grant Khomo player the previous year, suddenly changed to Glenwood.

Timeline

September 2015: Parktown were told that their two boys had been approached by schools in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng through an agent Wynand Moolman.

The boys concerned had been at Parktown Boys' High from Grade 8 and were on full sports scholarships.

15 September 2015: Remo Murabito, Parktown's director of sport,  emailed the directors of sport at all other Gauteng schools giving the boys' backgrounds and possible approaches to schools through their agent.

Murabito reminded them of the Boys' School Charter, prohibiting practice of "approaching and offering money to boys to allow or encourage them to switch schools". KES acknowledged this.

Murabito contacted the Lions Rugby Union who offered the boys contracts to counter the KwaZulu-Natal offer.

November 2015: Murabito held a meeting attended by one of the boys and his father, at which both stated that the boy would stay at Parktown. Never conveyed to us by either party.

Apart from the boy and his father, those at the meeting were headmaster Bradley, Murabito, Andrew van Zyl (Parktown's 1st XV coach) Timmy Goodwin (GLRU) and Bafana Nhleko (GLRU and Parktown Rugby Director).

Early December: The twins' father confirmed that he still wished to pursue the application thus indicating that he still wanted to leave Parktown of his own free will as expressed in September/October.

12 December 2015: Murabito confirmed that the boys would be returning to Parktown.

12 January: Both boys were in boarders at KES

Headmaster Bradley contacted the KES headmaster, Dave Lovatt, who is reported as saying that there was nothing wrong with the boys being at his school.
Headmaster Lovat says: "Not my words. I did express concern that the father had not followed our wish for him to leave Parktown with all admin in place. I stated that in my opinion protocols had been followed but acknowledged we could have communicated far better."

(Lovatt had previously been the headmaster of Hilton (2008-2009) and Queen's College (2100))2011 and 2012.

15 January 2016: Headmaster Bradley announced the suspension of sporting activities with KES.

Bradley ended by saying: "This issue is bigger than the two schools involved. We, as a school, believe that the time has come to make a stand against the continued procurement of players between the boys’ schools, either by direct approaches from schools, or through the use of agents."

In 2014 SACS played at the Saints Easter Tournament but went home a player short when Lwazi Monakali stayed on at KES. SACS then decided to have no further sporting contact with KES.

Headmaster Lovat says: This has been addressed and all sporting ties have been reinstituted in 2014. SACS won the King Edward polo festival in 2015.  Apparently headmaster Lovat publicly apologised at a conference of state school headmasters and gave the guarantee that this would not happen again.

It is a tangled web.

By Paul Dobson
@rugby365com

Poaching saga: Parktown refuses to play KES

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