Garsfontein coach Tjaart van der Walt speaks to MARIETTE ADAMS about Saturday’s return derby against Helpmekaar.
Helpmekaar beat Garsfontein 24-17 in May. Have you prepared differently for this match?
We put more emphasis on rucking this time around. Disrupting the opposition at the breakdown is one of Helpmekaar’s strengths. They like to attack from turnover possession to bring their lethal backline into the equation. Our ball protection and decision-making were poor in the first game and we need to improve those facets of our game to keep their counter-attacking opportunities to a minimum.
Are Garsfontein now better placed to take on Helpmekaar than you were earlier this year?
I wouldn’t say that. In the first match we were without a few key players because of injury and for the return fixture we are missing a couple of guys who sustained injuries at the youth weeks. But we’ll never back down from a challenge. We have huge respect for Helpmekaar and this match will be important in our preparation for our Beeld Trophy quarter-final next week.
Where do you think the game will be won and lost on Saturday?
Our sides are evenly matched, but whoever executes better from the set pieces will win.
Helpmekaar have performed well this year and are ranked above Garsfontein in the Top 20. Which areas of your game do you expect them to target?
They’ll target the breakdown and try to stretch us in the outside channels. Their backs and forwards are well balanced and because their pack is so versatile, they’ll try to take up our space because our backline is also very dangerous. Counting in our favour is the fact that this is a home game for us, so we’ll have the crowd behind us.
Which players were injured during the youth weeks?
Flank Rhyno Pieterse, eighthman Luke Fortuin, flyhalf Austin Davids and wing Emelio Adonis all returned with niggles. I’d have liked to play them against Helpmekaar, because I don’t want to lose to them twice in a season, but our medical staff didn’t clear them and I have to accept their diagnosis. I’ve had to shift the team around a bit, with Adner van Reenen who starred for the Blue Bulls at fullback, now playing flyhalf in the absence of Austin. The good news is that scrumhalf Embrose Papier returned to full training this week after sustaining a knock while playing for the Junior Boks. He is fit, but we don’t want to risk him, so he’ll get a second cameo off the bench.
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: Marius Nortje