Oakdale 1st XV coach Malan du Plessis talks to MARIETTE ADAMS about Saturday’s Classic Clash against Marlow in Riversdale.
Oakdale have lost three out of 16 games this year and Marlow seven out of 13. Does that make you favourites for this match?
Not at all. Each game should be viewed in isolation. Every game has its own challenges and if we go into Saturday’s clash thinking we’ll be successful because Marlow have lost more this year, they will punish us. There’s no room for complacency.
Paarl Gym defeated you 41-19 last week. What were your biggest concerns after that match?
Throughout the season, our success was built around a strong defensive system, but that just evaporated against Gym. We made more errors in defence in that game than in any other match this year. We have to cut down on the defensive lapses and get our intensity levels back up again. I believe we have a strong defensive pattern, the guys just need to start implementing it properly in a match situation.
Your annual interschools game against Boland Landbou is in two weeks’ time. Has it been difficult to keep your players focused on the fixtures against Marlow and Framesby?
The game against Boland Landbou is our biggest match of the year and we are looking forward to making the trip to Paarl this year. But I’ve told the boys we can’t prepare for Boland if we don’t give 100% in the two fixtures before that. Our sole priority is to beat Marlow on Saturday and next week we’ll shift our focus to Framesby, not Boland Landbou.
What do you reckon is the biggest threat this Marlow team poses?
This is an agricultural derby, so we know Marlow will bring a lot more physicality than some of the other teams we’ve played to date. They will do everything to slow the pace of the game down and try to dominate up front. Our forwards will be in for a tough battle.
Which players will be key to your chances against Marlow?
We are at that stage of the season where the injury list gets longer after every game and training session. Lock Jaco Smit, flank Hanno Olivier and fullback Darren Adonis [Craven Week Hero of the Day on day three] have all been ruled out. We’ll be more reliant on a collective effort than individual performance against a very good Marlow side.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images