Glenwood 1st XV coach Rudi Dames wants his side to kick on from their Sanix World Youth Tournament triumph. TYRONE ENGEL reports.
The Green Machine won all six of their games to claim their second Sanix title in three attempts (they won it for the first time in 2008 and finished third in 2009), beating Fiji’s Queen Victoria 14-10 and New Zealand’s Rotorua Boys’ 29-12 along the way.
‘It was one of my proudest moments as a coach,’ Dames told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘And not just because we won the title. The way in which the players conducted themselves on and off the field was amazing. To win a world tournament is a privilege and to be the first South African school to win it twice is a huge achievement for us.’
South Africa now holds back-to-back Sanix titles after Paul Roos won the tournament in 2015.
‘It’s really special for us that we could pick up where Paul Roos left off last year,’ Dames added. ‘Before we left I called Hein Kriek [Paul Roos 1st XV coach in 2015] and Sean Erasmus [current Paarl Boys’ 1st XV coach] who had been there before and they were very helpful in terms of what to expect.’
Glenwood faced a tough task of having to play six games in eight days at the tournament in the middle of an already busy domestic season.
‘Depth was the key to our success,’ Dames said. ‘All 30 players pulled their weight and if we had picked our “2nd XV” for the final, we still would have done well. When we needed to rest certain players, the guys who got their opportunity really put their hands up. The players handled the disappointment of not being picked for certain games well and still supported their teammates on the field. We took a conditioning coach with as part of the management staff, who worked on the players’ recovery. That helped to keep everyone fresh.
‘The toughest game at Sanix was definitely our semi-final against Rotorua,’ Dames added. ‘Our forwards’ performance got us across the line – I think it was Rotorua’s first loss in 26 games. You always know it’s going to be a special game when New Zealand and South African sides play each other. It was very physical, but our players were up to the challenge.’
Dames praised the captaincy of flank Austin Brummer, who played in all six of Glenwood’s games.
‘All World Cup-winning sides had a captain who was an exceptional leader,’ Dames commented. ‘We selected Austin for every match because of his leadership ability and maturity. He was phenomenal and huge credit to him for the way he handled the team and himself every day of the week.’
Glenwood are now focused on achieving the rest of their goals for the season, which includes going unbeaten against KZN sides. They faced Durban High School last Saturday in their first game since returning from Japan and held on to secure a 24-23 win.
‘It was a tough challenge for us,’ Dames said. ‘DHS came hard at us and you could tell that we were a bit rusty [after two weeks off], but I’m happy with the character the boys showed to pull off the win.’
Glenwood next face Monument away from home in a Premier Interschools clash on Saturday.