SARugbymag.co.za chats to SACS 1st XV coach Graeme Wepener about the upcoming season.
How have you prepared for the 2016 season?
We started soon after the end of the 2015 season with twice weekly gym conditioning sessions with our conditioning coach, Steve McIntyre. He worked with the Boks in 2007 and is one of the best in the business. The boys enjoy his sessions immensely. At the same time we had twice weekly voluntary skills sessions. The boys all have summer sports commitments, so it’s ‘come if you can’ really. In the new year we added Sunday afternoon sessions as well.
What lessons did you learn from last season?
Take it one game as a time, respect every opponent and that the mental part of the game is as important as the physical.
What are your goals for the team this year?
Our goal remains the same, which is to play attractive rugby – so the boys enjoy playing for the SACS 1st XV and our supporters enjoy watching us play – and to win as many matches as we can. Ideally, we’d like to beat all our local southern suburbs rivals at least once and if we can knock over one of the Boland big four, that is always an added bonus!
How many players from last year’s 1st XV will play again this year?
Hooker Lance Steytler, tighthead prop Duncan Ferguson, lock James Brewer, flank Liam Larkan, No 8 Alex Halvorsen, inside centre Nick Redelinghuys and wing Thomas Waterkeyn.
Who will be your key players?
Larkan and Halvorsen have huge potential. If they keep their feet on the ground and work hard, they both have the ability to get us over the gainline and ignite our attack.
What will be your biggest game of the season?
We have big games almost every weekend here in the Western Cape, but our traditional rivals are Wynberg Boys’ High who we play at the end of each rugby term. They have 13 players back from 2015 and a huge pack, so it’s going to be a monumental challenge to beat them in 2016.
By Lea van der Merwe
Photo: Ben Defty