Is it the fair play?
The spectre of fielding ineligible players in school rugby terms
seems to be repeatedly rearing its ugly head. Recent press reports
indicate that many leading schools appear to be poaching players from
other schools, some of whom are ineligible to be in school.
Certain schools are of the belief that they can field such players in
non-tournament games. But the question that begs consideration here is
not compliance or non-compliance with tournament rules, but the
eligibility criteria of students after GCE O\Level examinations, to
remain in school and this stems from Ministry of Education circulars.
Among other requirements, the circulars categorically state that any
student who has taken the GCE O/Level exam in the first instance and is
not successful in gaining entrance to the GCE A/Level class will be
permitted to remain in school and take the exam at the very next
opportunity the following year. If the student is unsuccessful even
after the second attempt, such student is not eligible to remain in
school. The regulations are as clear as daylight and it is a sad
reflection of the times that these are being flouted because of the
win-at-any-cost syndrome that prevails in schools.
A more important factor that arises when players are poached from
other schools is what happens to the original player who has put in a
lot of commitment and hard work to come up from the very junior level,
to the next level and so on? When he comes to the higher level, his
place is suddenly taken by a student who has been brought in from
another school. Is this fair? If other lesser affluent schools can
produce good players who are being poached by the better known schools,
is it not a sad indictment on the latter that they do not have the
coaching infrastructure to produce good players? Are we teaching our
children values to the effect that winning at any cost must be the order
of the day, even if it means fielding ineligible players.
Let us re-think this whole issue and be fair by the very students who
keep the game live at the junior level of their respective schools and
ensure they are not sidelined to make way for poached players. Let us
also ensure that a level playing field is created for schools rugby with
no ineligible players being included in any schools team!