Monday, 15 April 2013


England, South Africa and Argentina competed in a Triangular Polo Series at the world famous Palermo ground in Buenos Aires. The handicap level was limited to 22 goals with the national team line ups as follows:

1. Matthew Perry (3)
2. Oliver Cudmore (5)
3. Mark Tomlinson (7)
4. Luke Tomlinson (7)

1. Dirk van Reenen (3)
2. Jean du Plessis (6)
3. Ignatius du Plessis (8)
4. Chris MacKenzie (5)

1. Martin Joaquin (3)
2. Diego Cavanagh (7)
3. Manuel Plaza de Ayala (6)
4. Pedro Falabella (6)

The tournament took place from 9th to 14th April with South Africa taking on England in the first match. After a slow start South Africa eventually ran out comfortable winners 14 to 10. Rain delayed the next match between England and Argentina but the Brits upset the home side 12-6 in a thrilling game.

This put South Africa in a strong position against Argentina and only a three goal deficit by SA would allow England to win the Series on goal difference. Again South Africa started slowly but picked up their game to lead by three going into the last chukka. Sadly, they had a bad chukka whilst Argentina had a very good one to go down to the hosts by a goal.

In spite of the narrow loss, South Africa won the Series, a significant feat indeed, especially at the world famous Palermo ground considered by many in the polo world to be the “Wimbledon” of polo.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


A 22-goal South African team is currently taking part in a polo tri-nations tournament in Argentina between South Africa, England and Argentina. Our team played
England on Tuesday afternoon (Argentine time) and after a slow start ending up beating them 14-10 - a brilliant win!

The team is as follows:
  • Nachi du Plessis (8) 
  • Jean du Plessis (6) 
  • Chris MacKenzie (5) 
  • Dirk van Reenen (3)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


In order to steam line the administration process of the Provinces, the SAPA office will be taking on the bulk of their administration. This will apply to the following duties:

  • Affiliations of all Clubs/Players
  • Ensure all players affiliate and make payment on time. 
  • Meetings Sending out agendas and arranging dates for meetings such as
  • AGM’s, Handicap meetings and taking and distributing minutes at these.
  • Finances Book keeping service on the same accounting package used by SAPA and the production of income statement/balance sheet for AGM. Register clubs with SARS as NPO’s
  • Provincial tournaments Sending out notices, recording the teams entered, assisting with the draw, assisting with running of the tournament, buying prizes etc.
  • IPT Assisting the provincial teams ensuring they have shirts etc.and correct dress code for any functions.
  • Admin Any other day to day admin functions that might require attention.
  • Registration to SAEF/SASCOC Register all Clubs with the SAEF & SASCOC which will be a requirement before the end of the year – see details of this below.
Provincial leadership, such as Chairman, Handicapper, Selector, Secretary/Treasurer etc. will remain in place for policy decision matters pertaining to the province. SAPA is currently engaging with the provinces to fine-tune the above recommendations.

The SAPA 2013 affiliation fees have been increased to R1200 per player. This increase is due, in part, to a levy SAPA is required to pay to the South African Equestrian Federation for membership to the organisation. This year, players will be required to affiliate themselves via a portal set up on the SAPA website. This is user friendly and simply requires the member to supply information such as name, contact details, ID number etc. Some of the information required is for submission to SASCOC for completion of their database. Once the information has been completed online, payment can be made (online) either by credit card or Internet banking. Details of this mechanism will be
explained in a separate news letter once the system is correctly installed. Please note that all handicaps on the website will be removed and only restored once members
have affiliated. In addition, Clubs accepting non-affiliated players into tournaments will forfeit their Club medical sponsorship as outlined below. Please ensure you affiliate early (before 15th April) to facilitate updating the SAPA data base. It is essential you provide your correct email address to ensure continued receipt of the latest polo news.

SAPA has agreed to sponsor medical costs to all Clubs during 2013. This will be done on the basis of one sponsored tournament per Club. Club tournament organisers need to inform the SAPA office of the date/times medical staff are required and these will be booked and paid for by SAPA. Should a Club hold a second tournament during the year the same procedure must be followed with the exception that the cost will be passed onto the relevant Club. This should enable Clubs to generate much needed income from their tournaments to sustain escalating running costs. It will also ensure all Clubs have the correct standard of medical care at their events. Clubs whose members do not follow the affiliation procedures timeously could forfeit their sponsored medical cost.

It is a SASCOC requirement that all Clubs register with their National Associations through their respective provinces. SASCOC have also stipulated that athletes (players) must affiliate to the Club within their home province. These requirements will become compulsory by the end of 2013. SAPA, through the SAEF, are in consultation with SASCOC as this will have a serious impact on some provinces whose Clubs are outside the government’s geo-political boundaries. It is also a SASCOC requirement that all clubs be registered to the SAEF through their respective discipline’s Association (in our case SAPA) and that they comply to certain legal requirements listed below:

(i) Appoint/identify founding members and/or a management committee
(ii) Draw up a constitution
(iii) Establish the registered address, postal address, and contact details
(iv) Open a bank account
(v) Appoint an auditor/registered accountant depending on the type of club
(vi) Register for income tax with SARS

Clubs can register as either a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) with the Department of Social
Development or as a Non-Profit Company (NPC) with the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CPIC). Most Clubs would register as a NPO with its office bearers forming the management committee. NPO’s don’t require a full audit and only need their financials signed off by a designated registered accountant. Most of the Clubs already conform to these requirements with the exception of items (v) and (vi). SAPA administration will assist Club’s with the registration process. SASCOC’s objective is to provide formal sports participation opportunities through an integrated and sustainable club structure. To this end they will conduct annual audits on sport and recreation clubs including membership figures

The 12 goal rule instituted by SAPA in 2009 has been scrapped and team compositions will now have to conform to HPA rules/guidelines only. Many will remember that the rule allowed no more than two players of 4 goals or more in a 12 goal team. The purpose of the rule at the time was to encourage one, two and three goal players into 12 goal polo thereby giving them the opportunity to play with higher goal players. This rule resulted in precluding zero goal patrons from playing with their regular team members hence SAPA’s decision to do away with it. It also means SAPA is now fully compliant to HPA rules. For the record, HPA regulations for 12 goal polo stipulate a maximum handicap of 7 and a
minimum handicap of minus one with no provision as to the number of high goal players used provided the handicap limit is adhered to.

South Africa will host Chile for the 2013 BMW Series. Chile will field an 18 goal team which will test our local talent if their China squad is anything to go by. Chile has toured this country several times, always providing exciting and entertaining polo.

The 2013 National Selectors, as nominated and voted for by the senior handicap players were ratified by SAPA as follows:

  • Convenor (appointed by SAPA Exco) 
    • Clive Peddle 
  • Selectors 
    • Campbell Macnab
    • Bradley MacGibbon
    • Ian Stewart
Selecting an 18 goal national team to take on Chile will test the selector’s resolve with so many talented players in the mix.

A 16-goal South African Polo team returned from Beijing recently where they took part in the two week long Federation of International Polo’s Snow Polo World Cup Tournament.
The event took place at the Golding Metropolitan Polo Club in Tianjin two-hours drive from Beijing with 12 nations competing for the World Snow Polo trophy.
The SA 16-goal 3-man team was:
1 Tom de Bruin (7 goals)
2 Chris MacKenzie (5 goals)
3 Lance Watson (4 goals)
4 Terence Spilsbury (4 goals, travelling reserve)
Competition was intense among the teams from the twelve competing nations with the SA team having the experience of reaching the finals in 2012. Conditions in China were bitterly cold with temperatures down to 12 degrees below freezing making for a good surface early in the tournament. However, with temperatures warming to marginally above freezing the snow gradually became “mushy” making it difficult for all the teams in the quarters, semis and final. Countries taking part in the tournament were last year’s winners, Hong Kong along with India, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, USA, France, England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. South Africa started the competition strongly winning both their pool games - beating India 7-3 and then France 4-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. They then defeated Canada in a tough physical match to advance to the semi finals. This meant a semi-final berth against Argentina which wasn’t without controversy when Argentina were instructed by the organizing body (FIP) to change their team line up due to an irregularity of one of their player’s handicap. A very determined Argentine team defeated SA in the semi after a strong start where they posted a 4-0 lead by half time and although SA rallied strongly in the second half it was always a game of catch up. South Africa played England for third and fourth place and performed poorly in relation to their previous games losing to the Brits by two goals.

South Africa fielded a 26 goal team against an equivalent New Zealand side in their annual
International day played at the KihiKihi Polo Club near Auckland.
Team line-ups were as follows:
South Africa: 

1. Duncan Watson 5
2. Jean du Plessis 6
3. Ignatius du Plessis 8 (Captain)
4. Tom de Bruin 7
New Zealand: 

1. Thomas Hunt 5
2. Sam Hopkinson 6
3. John Paul Clarkin 8 (Captain)
4. Tommy Wilson 7
Press reports and those from New Zealand’s administrators indicate that it was one of the best encounters to have been played on their International day. The score changed leads several times with South Africa going into the final period all tied up at 9 a piece. Both sides traded penalties during the sixth and it looked like extra time might come into play. New Zealand’s Sam Hopkinson scored in the dying seconds of the match to win 11-10.
Jean du Plessis had a 100% record with his penalty shots which earned him “Man of the Match” whilst the best playing pony belonged to Andrew Parrott and played by Nachi du Plessis. New Zealand Polo Association were extremely complimentary over the behaviour and sportsmanship of the South African team.

The HPA have invited a 24 goal South African team to participate in their Beaufort International against England on the 15th June 2013. Some of our professional players will be involved with the Queen’s Cup - the finals of which are scheduled for the following day.

All sporting codes including equestrian disciplines are under severe pressure from SASCOC and the SAEF to formalize a transformation policy for under privileged and disadvantaged members of our society. To date the bulk of SAPA’s transformation funds have been channeled into the late Sbu Duma and more recently into Poloafrica. Recently, SAPA has received several requests from players for assistance with development players who either groom or play for them. In addition SAPA is well aware of BMW’s and the government’s stance regarding a player of color in the South African national team.
From the above, it is imperative for SAPA to adopt a formal development/transformation policy that will conform to SASCOC’s criteria but also fulfill SAPA’s aims and objectives in terms of promoting and improving South African polo. SAPA’s transformation policy going forward is currently “work in progress” with a detailed plan being formulated for discussion and ratification by Exco. It is expected that this will be achieved before the next meeting.

Polo is more enjoyable when zero tolerance is strictly enforced. This is the opinion of the high goal players and all agreed that it was their responsibility to set the example and behave in a sportsman like manner. With the commencement of the 2013 polo season in the Highveld, KZN, East Griqualand and Free State, SAPA will be instructing umpires to enforce zero tolerance – this will include abusive and foul language during play and in the pony lines. Please bear in mind that unruly and bad behaviour off the field during tournaments which could bring the game of polo into disrepute will also be subject to disciplinary action. Provinces/Clubs, please remember to appoint referees for all matches which should be published along with the umpires in the tournament program. Please ensure that the referee is situated centrally and on his own to facilitate his attention on the game. On a sad note, polo recently lost three stalwarts of the “polo family” with the passing of Norman Yeats, Annie B and Rory Hensman. We extend our heart-felt condolences to their families – their contribution to our sport over the years will be sorely missed. To Ken and Lynn Twort, who were brutally attacked recently, we wish a complete and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing them on the side of the polo field again!!

Executive Director – South African Polo Association