There were three scandals blighting Australian rugby over the past week, but only two are receiving anything like the
attention they deserve. We fans shake our heads about the lack of
professionalism among our professional Wallabies who were out on the turps until
dawn two days before losing a tough test match. Who do they think they are,
cricketers?

And then there’s dopey Matt Henjak, the first Wallaby to be
sent home from a tour in 39 years thanks to an incident during the
aforementioned nightclub session.

The third scandal was another schoolboy match over the
weekend, again involving Sydney Boys High. This time there was no allegation of
assault off the field, but of gross dereliction of duty by a dozen or so
headmasters and school councils, plus the sport’s many and varied governing
bodies. The scandal was St
Joseph’s thrashing High 107-0. The best team in the Sydney GPS competition
against the weakest. A total mismatch. The boys of neither team gained anything
from it. To twist the cliché, rugby was the
loser.

There have been rumbles occasionally breaking the surface
about the lopsided nature of the schoolboy competition for some years, but
nothing has been done about it. The rational response for any headmaster or
school council with a duty of care, or for sports administrators interested
in developing the game, would be the instigation of a divisional structure for
schools based on the number of players.

If you can field seven teams in an age group, you’re in
division one. If you go down to the Ds or Es, that would mean division two.
Only two or three teams – division three. It doesn’t matter how old the school
might be or what colour honour blazers the prefects wear, it would mean a
fairer competition across all the present hodge-podge of school associations.

There was an intriguing rumour that something like that was
proposed by the GPS headmasters a few years ago when physical safety issues
were in the headlines – but the CAS
schools knocked it back.

There are no fools like Old School fools.

Peter Fray

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