The Under-21 Border Rugby team is set to miss out on the upcoming Shield competition which begins on the 19th of August 2022, a source close to the team told Grit Spots on Monday.
Border, who are coming out of an impressive campaign this year after reaching the final of the SA Rugby U20 Shield only to lose to Valke 42-34, will miss the tournament due to “financial reasons”, Grit Spots understands.
“This is my understanding, Border will not be going ahead in the tournament,” revealed the source.
He continued, “Obviously, Border has been going through an administrative phase which it should’ve been out of (by) now but that hasn’t happened. I’m pretty sure that financial issues are involved, I think it’s a huge contributing factor in the taking of this decision,” he said.
Border were also not well supported in the U20 competition but despite the lack of coverage and following, the team rose to the occasion and played some brilliant rugby which saw them bring a fresh breath of air to East London rugby.
It is no question that the Union is in shambles with no proper structures in place to accommodate players, hence the region losses most of it’s players to bigger Unions.
For stand out players like Awonke Sondishe (c), who quit his job at some point to focus on leading his team, Blake Dierdricks and Varisty Shield winning utility back Ryan Marre though, the cancelation of their participation means that another opportunity to showcase what they can do on the rugby field will go begging.
The source also revealed how these news have negatively impacted the players, saying that the boys are definitely disappointed as they were relishing the opportunity of testing themselves against some of the best players in the country.
“Obviously coming from a final where Border played against Valke with very little preparation but made it that far, the team had high hopes of trying to continue in the U21 national competition. However, the situation and powers that be, made this decision and the team has to respect that,” the source ended.
We reached out to the Border management team for a comment but to no prevail.
The source also revealed that an official statement from SA Rugby and Border Rugby is expected soon.
This is a developing story and Grit Sports will keep you updated on all the developments.