Grey High coach Tim Fraser speaks to OLLIE KEOHANE about Saturday’s Eastern Cape derby against Framesby.
What challenge will Framesby pose on Saturday and where do you think the game will be won?
The Framesby manne are going to come hard at us. They’re a proud school with a proud bunch of guys and I think up front is certainly where the contest will be won. They’re physical, with a larger pack, so we’re going to need to front up and execute. The level of physicality from No 1 to 15 will need to be on point.
Do teams have a different mindset going into an Eastern Cape derby as opposed to a match against a school from another province?
I’m sure the local aspect and personal pride of the boys come into play when approaching a game of this nature, especially since our Craven Week players have spent some time with Framesby’s. At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that the boys are always representing a special institution and it doesn’t matter who we play against or where we play.
How difficult will it be for those Craven Week players, who were teammates for the last fortnight, to get back into schoolboy derby mode?
I don’t think it will be too difficult for the boys, as they will want to get the better of one another come the local derby. There is a lot of personal pride at stake.
What is the greatest challenge you face in that first match after Craven Week?
Regaining the form and fitness levels the team had built up during the second term. It’s been a lengthy break since our last fixture – four or five weeks – so getting back to our previous standards is the sole focus. To hit the ground running is the biggest challenge.
Grey were outstanding at festivals earlier this season, but have had mixed results since. To what to you attribute that inconsistency?
I don’t think the boys have been inconsistent. We did get off to a good start at the festivals, but followed that up with two below-par performances that resulted in two of our three losses this season. But we’ve since had a good string of exciting games, against quality opposition. Our last game of the term was a very exciting match against a good Dale team. It was the kind of game both sides could have won and even though we lost, it was a fantastic game of rugby. The boys responded well to those two below-par weeks and worked hard for each other since.
Grey have been among South Africa’s top-ranked schools for a while. How much focus is put on rugby compared to other schoolboy responsibilities?
There has been a greater effort from the staff and boys to ensure that our rugby teams can compete nationally. But I’m pretty happy to say that while we pride ourselves on our results on the rugby field, we ensure the boys enjoy a balance between academics and cultural activities. The question of the importance of schoolboy rugby in South Africa could be discussed at length, but at the end of the day we are an academic institution and our emphasis is on making sure there is a healthy balance between academics, culture and all sport – not just rugby.
Eastern Cape fixtures (23 July)
Brandwag vs Despatch
Cambridge vs Westering
Daniel Pienaar vs Kingswood
Grey High vs Framesby
Grens vs Adelaide
Hudson Park vs Selborne
Marlow vs St Andrew’s
Muir vs Woodridge
Pearson vs Graeme
Queen’s College vs Port Rex