SARugbymag.co.za chats to Affies 1st XV coach Jaco Koch about the upcoming season.
How have have you prepared for the 2016 season?
It’s been difficult to assemble the whole squad for a proper training session because of all the other extramural activities they take up and the academic schedule. We have had the occasional contact session, but I expect we’ll get into the full swing of things over the next couple weeks.
What lessons did you learn from last season?
To prepare sufficiently for every game and not just the ones against the big teams. From this year, we have to start selecting our most experienced players regardless of the opposition. Player management will be a factor, but we have to field our strongest available XV in all our games.
What are your goals for the team this year?
Our primary goal is to go through the season undefeated. We want to produce top-class professional rugby players and to do that we have to constantly perform better than everyone else.
How many players from last year’s 1st XV will return this year?
There are 10 returning 1st XV players: Cabous Eloff [prop], Schalk Erasmus [hooker], Arno van Wyk [prop], Henk Pretorius [lock], Phillip Krause [flank], Regardt du Plessis [flank], Ruan de Swart [flyhalf], Louritz van der Schyff [centre], Carel Koch [wing] and Christiaan Strydom [wing].
Who will be your key players?
I don’t believe in singling out individuals, as rugby is a team sport. But the above-mentioned players will have to call on their experience as Craven Week and SA Schools participants to motivate and inspire the newcomers. Their knowledge of 1st XV rugby and their intel on some of the other schools’ Craven Week players will be vital.
What will be your biggest game of the season?
For a school like Affies there are absolutely no easy games. We are not looking forward to any particular encounter, but rather to a better season than we had in 2015. For that, we need to bring our A game every week.
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images