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The Otago Boys’ High School First XV has pulled out of the inaugural world schools tournament in South Africa because of severe water shortages in Cape Town.
Otago Boys’ rector Richard Hall sent a brief press release yesterday explaining the decision.
"Due to concerns regarding the safety of our school touring party, the board of trustees regretfully decided to cancel the South African rugby tour," he wrote.
"Concerns were in regard to the Cape Town water crisis, particularly its scarcity."
Hall wrote the team was unable to change its travel plans and there was an issue around travel insurance. It was felt the risk was "too high" to go through with the planned tour.
He described the board’s decision as "a difficult one".
First XV coach Ryan Martin could not be reached for comment but said last week the team had plenty to look forward to if the tour was cancelled.
The tournament is scheduled for April 2-8.
King’s High School assistant principal Darin Smith told the Otago Daily Times last week the school had no plans to call off its tour of South Africa in April.
A rugby development group and a contingent of golfers were to play fixtures in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Cape Town introduced water restrictions of 50 litres per person per day on February 1.
Years of drought and rising population has caused the shortage. It is predicted the city will have to turn off its taps in July and force residents to queue for water in a last-ditch effort to avoid running out of water.