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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal Baby Boks v England Equivalent: Who Has The Best System?
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 14:15

Baby Boks v England Equivalent: Who Has The Best System?

The defeat of the Baby Boks at the hands of England in the IRB Junior World Championship should lead to many questions being asked of the junior structures that we take great pride in.

South African schoolboy rugby is by far the most competitive in the world, but this leads to an inverted confusion as to why we are annually slipping further down the pecking order in the above mentioned competition.

It was not the first time that the Baby Boks have been toppled by the English and possible reasoning may found by way of comparison between the systems in which the two nations select their finest age-group players.
Whilst the Baby Boks largely comprise of a motley crew of Craven Week, club, u19 and Varsity Cup players; England's best and brightest have been identified as far as five years back, through their various academies.
These aren't academies in the South Africa sense of young school leavers between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one; these are pseudo academies comprising of teenagers who spend their weekday afternoons at the clubs, performing much of the semi-professional activities that the top schools in South Africa employ.

The layout of a typical Premiership club in England is one of three tiers: senior squad (that competes in the Premiership), a Colts squad (the equivalent of our u19 and u21 teams) and a group of the top schoolboys in the region. These are squads of approximately twenty five players each, rather than the South Africa equivalent, where our depth becomes a curse and countless schoolboys from countless schools are almost indistinguishable.

The end result of England's limited talent pool is that they invest time and loyalty in their young charges; they simply do not have the luxury of disregarding a youngster for the next young bull in line. The best players in the country are clear from a very young age and spend countless holidays and weekends meeting for clinics and strategic planning sessions. In essence, what Dawie Theron is expected to build in a few months, England has done over a few years.

Should we head in the same direction? There's no real need. Whilst the British manner of rugby development seems attractive at a time when we are hurting from defeat at their hands, they would certainly choose our wealth of available talent over their intensive individual conditioning of a core group.
Schoolboy rugby is far too powerful a beast to be surpassed by such a scheme and though it may not always translate to successful Baby Bok endeavours, it’s what makes us retain pride in the school badge, many decades after matriculating.