Affies coach Jaco Koch speaks to MARIETTE ADAMS about Saturday’s Premier Interschools match against hosts Maritzburg College.
Was the transition from Craven Week back into your set-up difficult for your provincial players?
The only difficulty for them was the fatigue factor. They played three games in five days for the Blue Bulls. The last game was on Saturday and they travelled home on Sunday. The schedule took a physical toll on their bodies, so we decided to rest our Craven Week players on Monday and Tuesday. Other than that, they slotted in effortlessly because they are accustomed to our structures.
How has the team prepared for Saturday’s encounter?
We know Maritzburg are a classy outfit and a tough team to beat, especially at Goldstones Field. The primary focus in training this week was the set pieces. Maritzburg are a forward-orientated side and if we don’t front up, they’ll punish us. There’s a rich tradition between College and Affies and we are going to do everything in our power get a win on their turf.
What is the greatest challenge facing Affies following the long mid-year break?
I think the cohesiveness of the team will be tested. Yes, they all know the structures our game is built around, but they’ve been split up between the various provincial teams, where they learned different plans and structures. It’ll take time to get used to each other again.
Maritzburg have had an indifferent season. What are you expecting from them on Saturday?
Like I said, no matter how their season has turned out, Maritzburg are always been a tough team to crack at Goldstones. They pride themselves on their tight five. College feast on first-phase ball from the lineouts and scrums and they are very good at contesting at the breakdown area. We are bracing for a physical match.
Will you field a full-strength lineup?
Our fullback Christian Strydom, who scored four tries against Maritzburg last year, has been ruled out with an injury. Our only other injury concern is captain Schalk Erasmus, who is struggling with a hamstring strain. Schalk will start training on Thursday and we’ll see how it goes.
Gauteng fixtures (23 July):
Jeppe vs Parktown
KES vs Pretoria Boys’
Helpmekaar vs Garsfontein
Linden vs Dinamika
Transvalia vs Vereeniging
Oos-Moot vs Pretoria-Noord
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images