SARugbymag.co.za chats to Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale 1st XV coach Malan du Plessis about the upcoming season.
How have you prepared for the 2016 season?
Our preparations are on track. We started with pre-season training in September last year and travelled to Mossel Bay in December for a two-day fitness training session. There’s another training camp scheduled for a weekend in March, but the exact date and venue are still to be confirmed. Overall, I’m happy with the squad and the progress they’ve made since coming together.
What lessons did you learn from last season?
That there has to be a balance within a team in order to succeed. We had that last season, but this year we lack physicality up front. We still have the speed among the backs, but the forwards will not be as robust. We’re working very hard to get that balance right before the season starts.
What are your goals for the team this year?
As a team, the aim is to play positive, attacking rugby throughout the year. And while we want to win as much as possible, I urge the players to focus on enjoyment and make sure each individual understands there is no pressure on him, even if he is not playing so well. It’s just a game.
How many players from last year’s 1st XV will play again this year?
Seven of last year’s 1st XV will be available for selection again: André Posthumus [tighthead prop], Daniel Victor [lock], WP van Heerden [No 8], Hanno Olivier [flank], Nicolus van Eeden [left wing], Alexander Wallace [right wing] and Darren Adonis [fullback].
Who will be your key players?
Our back three consisting of Alexander Wallace, Nicolus van Eeden and Darren Adonis. We have more than enough experience up front, but in the back division, they are the only ones who played regularly last year. Darren is the playmaker, who can turn defence into offence in a nanosecond and we need Alexander and Nicolus to execute their supporting roles perfectly.
What will be your biggest game of the season?
The old cliché of ‘every game is important’ is true. But I have to admit, our interschools derby with Boland Landbou, our annual Akker Festival match against Paul Roos and our interprovincial clash with Outeniqua are the fixtures we want to win the most.
Interview by Mariette Adams