Affies have won 12 out of their 14 matches in 2016. To what do you attribute the 1st XV’s consistency?
We put various structures place during the off-season. There are certain principles the boys have to uphold on and off the field. If they had failed in that regard, there would have been serious consequences. I think that is the reason they have performed well throughout the year.
Are you more satisfied with where you are as a team at the moment compared to the same stage last season?
We wanted to be unbeaten this year. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. In saying that, I’m very proud of the boys and how they bounced back from those two earlier defeats. If we can end the year on a high on Saturday, I’ll definitely be more pleased than I was at the end of 2015.
Affies beat Glenwood 63-0 last week. Does a dominant performance like that make it harder or easier to prepare for your next game?
It’s a combination of the two. We work with schoolboys and it is hard work to keep them grounded and focused on what lies ahead. On the other hand, keeping a school like Glenwood scoreless gives the boys that extra bit of confidence and motivation in the buildup to a big derby. It is also satisfying for the coaching staff to know that our structures are working.
Is the fixture against Pretoria Boys’ your biggest match of the year?
I wouldn’t say biggest because we also play inter-provincial matches against Grey College, Paarl Boys, Maritzburg and Glenwood. But it is a very important game for us as it is our oldest interschools rivalry. We have a longstanding relationship with Pretoria Boys’ and the result of this match decides who gets bragging rights in the city for the next 12 months.
How have Affies prepared for this match?
We had a look at our last couple of wins against Glenwood and Maritzburg, because we wanted to take stock of the errors we made despite winning. This week was all about rectifying those mistakes with better execution.
What is the biggest threat Pretoria Boys’ will pose?
After the season they’ve had, we believe Pretoria Boys’ have nothing to lose and will come out firing against us. They are a proud school and will be up for the challenge against the old enemy. With the old boys from both schools in attendance, Pretoria Boys’ will be a more competitive side than their results suggest because they’ll have a point to prove and a score to settle.
How important will it be to win your last game of the season?
This is one of those games that if you don’t win, you view your season as a failure. So it will be a massive result to whichever team wins on Saturday. I hope we can end on a high so that our matriculants can leave here feeling like they’ve had a successful year.
Photo: William Brown