I was approached by the media staff of SARU to remove this article as Danny did not know that he is speaking to the press. I said that I was 100% willing to do that if I am guaranteed an interview with Danny in order to ask him the questions I wanted to ask him in the interview I requested. But after the personal attack, Danny thought he was entitled to, questioning my intellect and integrity I decided that I will only replace this article if and when I receive a written reply to my questions I wanted to ask Danny.
On Wednesday evening after the most media people left, I had the pleasure to meet Danny Jones the General Manager of Amateur Rugby at the Western Province Rugby Union, and I must admit that he is a genuine people's person. He was very open regarding his views on schoolboy rugby and what needs to be done to make him a happy chappie.
Unfortunately, after I had the initial meeting I requested a follow-up interview to clear some troubling statements he made. The request was up till now ignored by SARU and after Danny in person agreeing to a follow up after the last play on Thursday at the Craven Week he never pitched. Admittingly he did not know who I am when discussing schoolboy rugby with me but I am sure meeting me in the media centre he was aware that I am from a media organisation.
The health of Western Province Rugby Union and their youth teams
Danny is very proud of the Western Province's Craven Week and Academy Week's performances during the 2018 tournament, rightly so. He claimed that their success was due to the hard work himself, his colleagues and the schools had put in to ensure that the best was selected and prepared properly for the 2018 event. He also said their refusal to allow cups and competitions in the Western Cape ensured no animosity between schools existed and all worked together for a successful Western Province.
My question to Danny in our second meeting would have been - Danny we are all glad to see the Western Province school structures work so well. But please first verify and then explain why the Western Province Country Districts side was booked into a venue for a training camp with no provision made for proper food. According to my sources, the boys were each given an allowance of R 100 per day but was left without transport quite a distance from any shops. And even if they walked to the shops there were no facilities to prepare any meals themselves at the venue. Apparently, some parents went to buy and prepared the food on a daily basis and fed the boys themselves.
Shaun Cairns Your question regarding the treatment of the WP Country & Districts team needs answering. The WP Academy side and CD side were at the same preparation camp outside of Paarl. They were both treated in the same way. The group of boys were split into teams and given a budget for food. The boys decided what to they were going to spend their food money on for the week. So if they didn't get any proper food it was their own fault.
When asked why was Stellenberg Hoërskool was not allowed into the Premier A school competition, Danny stated that a school must have 16 teams to compete and be allowed in that competition. He further stated that Stellenberg is a work in progress and that there is a process in place to make sure that they will be promoted when they qualify.
I replied that Stellenberg will stay the Superspar for the Premier A schools until they are promoted and only when they are promoted will they be able to hold onto their talented players and be able to put 16 teams in a weekend onto the rugby fields. Danny insisted that we must trust the process.
My question to Danny in our second meeting would have been - "Danny, if Stellenberg is in a process of being promoted why not allow them more fixtures to test them against the Premier A schools, rather than reducing the fixtures when Stellenberg is winning more than losing against those Premier A schools? The rest of the country at schoolboy level and in the senior competitions not only in South Africa but also in the rest of the world are striving to play strength v strength.
Quotas and the way forward
Danny said he is striving for a situation that all schools in his province and also South Africa must be a true reflection of the demographics of South Africa. That is the day when quotas will not be necessary anymore. I asked him regarding Afrikaans schools with quality English schools as neighbours how would he convince parents to rather put them in the Afrikaans school if Afrikaans is sidelined in the rest of the community? As I always wear my Affies cap he used Affies as an example.
Danny claimed that he will convince dr Edwards after a cup of coffee to open his doors to black boys and teachers so that the wealth and facilities can be shared and enjoyed by the whole population of South Africa. He want more black coaches at schools like Affies.
My question to Danny in our second meeting would have been - I am sure that Dr Edwards and the whole Afrikaans community would welcome any Afrikaans speaking child at Affies. But if the majority of the kids at Affies could not pay their school fees and Affies becomes dependant on the ever-shrinking government subsidies Affies will lose its shine within a short period. Will you then abandon Affies as a social project gone bad or are the wealth and facilities you want to be shared, those of the current Affies parents and community?
My 2nd question to Danny in our second meeting would have been - Danny in bringing the top black coaches to Affies you will only benefit a few boys and will do nothing to take the game to all the people of our wonderful country. A great school principal said to me a few years ago "I will rather spend R 1 000 000 on two great coaches rather than on 20 star pupils, with the two coaches 500 boys will benefit not only 20." Danny, maybe you must stop wanting to create an equal society by sharing the current wealth and only benefiting a few. Maybe rather you must concentrate to create new wealth and use that to benefit thousands?
I then said that Garsfontein must be his hero for their active development and identification of kids of colour as it is a very successful program delivering Craven Week stars and even Springboks of colour.
Danny made no secret of his dislike of Garsfontein. On my questioning him why? he could not answer me. Just said he does not like the method they use and the people at the school. He just does not like Garsfontein.
My question to Danny in our second meeting would have been - Nothing his distaste of Garsfontein was very clear, maybe it is because of their success and he does not like success.
An Open Letter To Danny Jones
Danny, you seemed to be an honest man with unfortunate very skew ideologies. If you ever feel the need to talk to me or even write a reply to this open letter I will publish it immediately.
If I were a person of colour I would have most probably been hung 40 years ago, as the person I am would not have accepted the injustices you and your community had to suffer and that is why I speak up today. I do not want another Danny Jones in 50 years time. Maybe not a Danny Jones but certainly a Koos vd Merwe. I can not feel your hate but I certainly do understand it.
Therefore my invite to you.
Your Union the Western Province is bankrupt and corrupt, and it is not me saying so it is your supporters and your community, o yes and Mr Rupert. Stand up for what is right and help save the Western Province for our children. Although we hate the Wiepie up north the country will not be the same without you. Become the hero of millions and not the slave of a few.
Your schoolboy rugby community is in serious trouble. There is not enough place for all the disadvantaged kids from the Western Cape at the Top schools. Please help them to develop proper facilities at home, a place where they can excel and be heroes. Please ensure that talented kids from the disadvantaged areas have the same opportunity as their more fortunate friends, and when you do recognise them please feed them properly and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.
And yes I know it is easier for me to step into a non-racial society, without any hatred, than you, but I beg of you for the future of our kids in this wonderful country, please try. And o yes, the Afrikaner did not benefit since Jan van Riebeeck arrived, it was the Hollanders who benefitted then and I am not sure when the Afrikaner became a nation but it was certainly not then.